The world of skull base disorders, like neuro-oncology as a whole, has experienced dramatic changes in 2020. The highlight, by far, was the 30th annual scientific meeting of the North American Skull Base Society, held February 6-9, 2020, in San Antonio. Dr. Ricardo Carrau, otorhinolaryngology, Ohio State University was the presiding President of the Society. The theme of this year’s meeting was “Rapid Evolution in the Healthcare Ecosystem: Become Frontiers.” Dr. Carrau’s presidential address can be viewed at: https://www.nasbs.org/. Dr. John Golfinos, neurosurgeon, NYU, was named President for the upcoming year. The meeting was an unqualified success and would have broken all attendance and presentation records except, unfortunately, all registrants from the far East had to cancel their attendance due to the novel Coronavirus pandemic. Even with this limitation, there were 827 registered attendees! The scientific content covered every aspect of the diagnosis and treatment of skull base disorders. There were 258 oral presentations and 204 poster presentations. Guests of Honor include Drs. Ivo Janecka, (otorhinolaryngology), Hugh Curtin (neuroradiology) , Amin Kassam (neurosurgery), Dan Nuss (otorhinolaryngology) and Laligam Sekhar (neurosurgery). There was an enfolded day long symposium dealing with management of vestibular schwannoma as well as one devoted to orbital pathology. Once again, the meeting had several “Rhoton rooms” in which experts demonstrated various endoscopic and open skull base approaches. There were also video sessions and unique competitions between different academic skull base teams addressing controversial topics such as endoscopic vs. open surgery for craniopharyngiomas and microsurgery vs. radiosurgery for skull base paragangliomas.
The World Skull Base Society meeting was scheduled to take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil March 24-29, 2020. Due to the pandemic the meeting has been rescheduled for December 7-11, 2020. Further details can be found at: http://www.skullbase2020.com/.
Of course, the current struggle we all face is not when we will be able to get together again, but how to treat patients with skull base disorders in the current environment? At most of our institutions elective surgery has been completely halted and even “urgent” surgeries may not be able to proceed? Patients with large benign tumors such as petroclival meningiomas or vestibular schwannomas still experience a sense of urgency. Even more concerning, the window to provide optimal oncologic treatment for many skull base malignancies is limited and we are having to be creative about how to allocate limited resources.
We regret we can’t be together in Boston at the AANS meeting but know, together, we will all get through this.