SIS 2019 European Congress - Munich, Germany
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Join your colleagues and international leaders in spine intervention at the 2019 European Congress.

5/25/2019 to 5/26/2019
When: 25-26 May 2019
Where: Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski

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The SIS 2019 European Congress—Integrating Evidence For Spine Interventions in Europe lets you take your place in Munich among Europe and America’s premier interventional pain physicians as they share the specific techniques and efficacy data their specialties bring to bear in the management of spine pain.

Download the brochure.


PRECOURSE—Friday, 24 May

Spine Imaging and Anatomic Correlation
09:00-17:00 (Three 2-hour sessions) 

Chair: Timothy Maus, MD
 Timothy Maus, MD; Frank H. Willard, PhD

See the structures we target and the vulnerable structures we must avoid on expertly dissected and sagittally-sectioned cadavers and develop a greater three-dimensional understanding of the keys to success and the potential pitfalls of lumbar and cervical procedures.

SIS thanks the University of New England and Frank H. Willard, PhD for providing the cadavers used in this course

09:00-11:00 - Rotation 1 - SOLD OUT

12:30-14:30 - Rotation 2 - ONLY ONE SEAT REMAINS

15:00-17:00 - Rotation 3 - SOLD OUT

PRECOURSE—Friday, 24 May

History and Physical Examination for the Interventional Pain Physician - SOLD OUT
Chair: Edvin Koshi, MD

Instructors: David J. Kennedy, MD; Matthew Smuck, MD; John Tanner, MB BS

In this precourse, you will conduct cervical and lumbar physical examinations that can be incorporated into your practice. Before your hands-on training, you will explore the utility of physical exams, provocation tests, and neurological exams and view actual patient exams via video vignettes.


Friday, 24 May

Registration Open
Welcome Reception

Saturday, 25 May

Registration Open

Morning Coffee with Exhibitors

Welcome Remarks
Speakers:  2019 European Congress Program Committee Chair Stephan Klessinger, MD; G. Michael Hess, MD, PhD

Anatomy, Imaging, and Examination
Moderator: G. Michael Hess, MD, PhD
Speakers: Frank H. Willard, PhD; Walter Zieglgänsberger, MD; Edvin Koshi, MD; Timothy Maus, MD; Stephan Klessinger, MD


What information does advanced imaging provide in planning an epidural procedure? Is it really necessary to insure a safe and efficacious intervention? Isn’t it a waste of resources? We will examine the literature and consider case examples that bear on both sides of this question with speakers including world-renowned anatomist Frank H. Willard, PhD of Biddeford, Maine, USA, and the originator of the term, “pain memory” Professor, Walter Zieglgänsberger, MD of Munich, Germany.

09:00 - Functional, Clinical Anatomy
Frank H. Willard, PhD

09:20 - Review of Pain Mechanisms
Walter Zieglgänsberger, MD

09:40 - Do We Need a Physical Examination Before Performing a Procedure?
Edvin Koshi, MD

09:50 - Do We Need an MRI Before Performing a Procedure?
Timothy Maus, MD

10:10 - Correlation of Imaging and Pain for Z-joint and SIJ
Stephan Klessinger, MD

10:25 - Discussion

Coffee Break with Exhibitors

Spine Interventions Supported by Higher Quality Evidence: Part I: Lumbar
John Tanner, MB BS

Speakers: Sanjeeva Gupta, MD; Javier De Andrés Ares, MD; David J. Kennedy, MD         

Parallel or Perpendicular Needle Placement: Does it Really Matter?

In Munich this spring, you can find what the evidence shows. Allow John Tanner, MB BS of Oving, England to guide your overview of lumbar epidural steroid injection and radiofrequency denervation.

At this session you will explore the higher quality evidence-based techniques for:

  • medial branch blocks with Sanjeeva Gupta, MD of Leeds, England;
  • lumbar radiofrequency neurotomy with Javier De Andrés Ares, MD of Madrid, Spain; and
  • lumbar transforaminal epidural steroid injection with David J. Kennedy, MD of Nashville, Tennessee, USA.

11:10 - Medial Branch Blocks: Technique and Evidence
Sanjeeva Gupta, MD

11:25 - Lumbar RF: Technique and Evidence
Javier De Andrés Ares, MD

11:45 - Lumbar TFESI: Technique and Evidence
David J. Kennedy, MD

12:05 - Discussion

Spine Interventions Supported by Higher Quality Evidence: Part II: Cervical
Moderator: Sanjeeva Gupta, MD

Speakers: Armando Barbosa, MD; Michiel Schepers, MD; Matthew Smuck, MD

Sanjeeva Gupta, MD of Leeds, England will moderate these talks:

  • Cervical RF: Technique and Evidence presented by Armando Barbosa, MD of Lisbon, Portugal;
  • Cervical Epidurals: Technique and Evidence presented by Michiel Schepers, MD of Delden, Netherlands; and
  • Cervicogenic Headache, TON: Technique and Evidence by Matthew Smuck, MD of Redwood City, California, USA.

13:40 - Cervical RF: Technique and Evidence
Armando Barbosa, MD

13:55 - Cervical Epidurals: Technique and Evidence
Michiel Schepers, MD

14:10 - Cervicogenic Headache, TON: Technique and Evidence
Matthew Smuck, MD

14:25 - Discussion

Spine Interventions Supported by Lower Quality Evidence
Moderator: Alison Stout, DO

Speakers: David J. Kennedy, MD; Markus Schneider, MD

Clarify the Grauzone in Germany

The SIS 2019 European Congress Planning Committee has gathered several of our esteemed colleagues to help clarify many grey areas of the evidence base.

After sessions reviewing interventions supported by higher quality evidence, at the Spine Interventions Supported by Lower Quality Evidence session Dr. Alison Stout of Kirkland, Washington, USA will moderate these talks:

  • Lumbar Intra-articular InjectionsLumbar Intra-articular Injections presented by David J. Kennedy, MD of Nashville, Tennessee, USA; and
  • SI Joint Injections presented by Markus Schneider, MD of Bamberg, Germany.

14:40 - Lumbar Intra-articular Injections
David J. Kennedy, MD

14:50 - SI Joint Injections
Markus Schneider, MD

15:05 - Discussion

Minimizing Risks of Preventable Complications in Spine Interventions
Moderator: Javier De Andrés Ares, MD

Speakers: Christine El-Yahchouchi, MD; Timothy Maus, MD; John Tanner, MB BS

Are You Doing All You Can To Prevent Complications?

Study the factors that critically impact injection safety and efficacy.
At this session you will explore how to:

  • weigh the risks vs. benefits of stopping or continuing anticoagulants;
  • select whether sedation is appropriate, and at what level;
  • visualize the vascularity of the small, but critical, structures within the neural foramina;
  • deploy radiation-based image guidance in ways to safeguard patients, operators, and your professional staff; and
  • choose between particulate and non-particular steroids for your injections.


15:15 - Particulate vs. Not-Particulate
Christine El-Yahchouchi, MD

15:35 - Contrast: CT Technique to Visualize Vascularity
Timothy Maus, MD

15:45 - Sedation
John Tanner, MB BS

15:55 - Safe Use of Radiation Based Image Guidance
Timothy Maus, MD

16:05 - Anticoagulants
John Tanner, MB BS

16:15 - Discussion

Why Become a Member of SIS?
Speaker: Timothy Maus, MD

For over 25 years, SIS has supported important research studies, has represented spine intervention physicians in payment and reimbursement forums, and has provided both live and online evidence-based educational activities. Hear from SIS President Timothy Maus why you should become an SIS member.


Networking Break with Exhibitors

Controversies in Spine Interventions
Moderator: Alison Stout, DO

Speakers: Timothy Maus, MD; Christine El-Yahchouchi, MD; Alison Stout, DO; David J. Kennedy, MD; Matthew Smuck, MD

Each patient’s case presents a myriad of potential treatment paths, and every diagnostic and therapeutic selection can be fraught with controversy. In this session you will explore how to make evidence-based selections to address:

Diagnostic Image-Guidance

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of fluoroscopy or computed tomography guidance?


Therapeutic Techniques

  • When should your recommended approach utilize conventional, cooled, or pulsed radiofrequency neurotomy? What about cryoablation vs. radiofrequency ablation?
  • What additional treatment modalities are available for the denervation of zygapophysial joint?
  • Which regions of the spine are most advantageously treated utilizing intraarticular or interlaminar injections?

17:00 - CT vs. Fluoroscopy
Timothy Maus, MD; Christine El-Yahchouchi, MD

17:20 - Conventional RF vs. Cooled RF vs. Pulsed RF vs. Cryoablation
Alison Stout, DO

17:40 - Cervical Transforaminal Injections vs. Interlaminar Injections
David J. Kennedy, MD; Matthew Smuck, MD

18:00 - Discussion

My Most Interesting Case
Moderator: Timothy Maus, MD

Speakers: G. Michael Hess, MD, PhD; Matthew Smuck, MD; Edvin Koshi, MD

Benefit from what these master clinicians learned when their abilities were stretched to the limit.

18:15 - Not Fibromyalgia Syndrome, or To Intervene or Not to Intervene, that is the Question..
Anthony Hammond, MD

18:25 - Bend the Needle, Not the Rules
Matthew Smuck, MD

18:35 - L4-5 Intradiscal Cyst Treated with Selective Transforaminal Epidural Injection Via Infraneural Technique
Edvin Koshi, MD

18:45 - Discussion

Adjourn for the Day

CME Poster Presentations With Authors

Meet the authors as they showcase their research during this interactive CME session. The posters will be on display during the entire Congress, but CME credit is only offered during this session.


Networking Reception with Exhibitors

Sunday, 26 May

Registration Open
Morning Coffee with Exhibitors

Limits of Spine Interventions
Moderator: Michiel Schepers, MD

Speakers: Stephan Klessinger, MD; Hanne Albert, PT, MPH, PhD; Norma Jung, MD; Alison Stout, DO; John Tanner, MB BS 

See What the Evidence Shows Us About the Limits of Spine Intervention


Over the last two decades we have seen minimally invasive lower back pain treatments such as intradiscal electrothermal annuloplasty (IDET), biacuplasty, and nucleoplasty and percutaneous disc decompression. None have prevailed.

At the same time MRI has opened our eyes to Modic degenerative vertebral endplate changes that may respond to carefully monitored long-term antibiotic treatment.

Finally, years of experience have shown us how to recognize risky clinical constellations that may preclude spine intervention entirely.

09:00 - Discogenic Pain: Conditions We Cannot Treat
Stephan Klessinger, MD

09:15 - Diseases We Cannot Treat: Modic Changes - Pro
Hanne Albert, PT, MPH, PhD

09:35 - Diseases We Cannot Treat: Modic Changes - Con
Norma Jung, MD

09:55 - When to Stop Interventions
Alison Stout, DO

10:10 - When Not to Do Interventions
John Tanner, MB BS

Coffee Break with Exhibitors

Limits of Spine Interventions: What Comes Next?
Moderator: Christine El-Yahchouchi, MD
Speakers: G. Michael Hess, MD, PhD; Edvin Koshi, MD

What is the next step if the patient is not satisfied with the result of your intervention? What can you do if the treatment fails? Is surgery the next step? Is a positive response to a transforaminal injection a better indication for surgery, because it proves that the spinal nerve is the pain source? Or, is failure of a transforaminal injection the ideal indication?

Perhaps surgery should be avoided, and rehabilitation is the next step if injections are not successful. Learn all about the possibilities of rehabilitation.

10:40 - What Comes After Interventions? Indications for Surgery
G. Michael Hess, MD, PhD

10:55 - What Comes After Interventions? Rehabilitation
Edvin Koshi, MD

11:10 - Discussion

Upcoming Therapies
Moderator: Anthony Hammond, MD

Speakers: Bernhard Meyer, MD; Jan H. Mehrkens, MD

At this session you will:

  • Review the results of a 2018 study on radiofrequency ablation of the basivertebral nerve with the study's chief investigator, neurosurgery chair at the Technical University of Munich, Bernhard Meyer, MD.
  • Experience an updated overview of promising high frequency spinal cord and dorsal root ganglion stimulation techniques with senior physician and head of functional neurosurgery department at the University of Munich (LMU), Campus Grosshadern, J.H. Mehrkens, MD.

11:25 - Basivertebral Ablation
Bernhard Meyer, MD

11:45 - 10kHz Spinal Cord Stimulation, DRG Stimulation
Jan H. Mehrkens, MD

12:05 - Discussion

Top Poster Presentations
Moderator: Stephan Klessinger, MD

12:20 - Poster 1

12:27 - Discussion

Congress Adjourns

Registration Rates Before Saturday, 30 March 2019
Tier I International and North American Physician Members - $775
Tier II International Members - $600
Military Physicians, Fellows, Residents, and Medical Student Members - $350
Allied Health Professionals - $475
Non-member Physicians - $1,225

Register early and save. All Congress registration rates increase by $100 on 30 March 2019 and again on 4 May 2019.

Meeting and Hotel Accommodations
Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski
Maximilianstraße 17
80539 Munich, Germany
Single/Double Occupancy: €220
Click here for reservations

Munich International Airport (MUC) is located 24 miles from the Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski. Please arrange your own ground transportation to the hotel Additional information can be found by clicking here.

Educational Objectives
Upon completion of this activity, participants should be able to: 

  • Identify best practices to ensure patient safety during interventional spine procedures;
  • Apply new research findings to the practice of ethical, evidence-based interventional spine care;
  • Describe how strict diagnostic criteria and anatomically validated technique can improve outcomes and reduce healthcare costs;
  • Assess the limitations of spine interventions;
  • Discuss emerging interventional therapies and how they can be applied to patients;
  • Identify the utility and limitations of history, physical exam, and imaging in your diagnostic algorithm;
  • Cite the evidentiary basis for lumbar and cervical spine interventions.

Continuing Medical Education (CME)

The Spine Intervention Society is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The Spine Intervention Society designates this live activity for a maximum of 12.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)TM Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.


An application has been made to the UEMS EACCME® for CME accreditation of this event.

For German attendees, SIS has been approved by the Bayerische Landesärztekammer (BLÄK) to award the following CME points:

  • History & Physical Precourse - 7 Category C points
  • Spine Imaging Correlation - 3 Category C points
  • Congress General Session - a total of 14 Category A points


Target Audience

This live activity has been designed for individuals who are involved in the care of patients with spine pain.

Registration Open to All
The content of this course is geared towards physicians but registration is open to SIS members, non-member physicians, and mid-level staff.

Special Accommodations
SIS only contracts with facilities that are in compliance with the U.S. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and also strives to meet the needs of all diets with food provided to participants during the course. All ADA accommodations and/or dietary requests should be submitted by Thursday, 25 April 2019 to

Cancellation Policy
The Spine Intervention Society requires cancellation at least 21 days prior to the course to receive a refund less a $150 administrative fee. Cancellation less than 21 days prior will result in forfeiture of all fees. SIS reserves the right to cancel this event due to circumstances beyond its control. The Society assumes no financial obligation to registrants for possible costs incurred.

Disclosure Policy
SIS plans and implements educational activities in accordance with the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) Criteria and Standards for Commercial Support to ensure balance, independence, objectivity, and scientific rigor. As an ACCME-accredited provider, the Society’s disclosure policy requires everyone who is in a position to control the content of an education activity has disclosed all relevant financial relationships with any commercial interest to the provider. The ACCME defines “‘relevant’ financial relationships” as financial relationships in any amount occurring within the past 12 months that create a conflict of interest.

The Instructor Development Committee Chair reviews all disclosures prior to presentation and has a process of resolution that, if not satisfied, results in the removal of the speaker. The intent of this policy is not to prevent expert speakers with relevant relationship(s), with commercial interest(s), or other interests from involvement in CME but rather to ensure that the Society’s CME activities promote quality and safety, are effective in improving medical practice, are based on valid content, and are independent from commercial interests and free of commercial bias. Disclosure information will be made available to all participants at this meeting. Speakers are also required to disclose this information to the participants verbally and on the introductory slide at the beginning of each presentation.

To ensure the integrity of members, volunteers, and leaders, and to maintain public confidence, SIS has adopted a policy of uniform disclosure of financial relationships. Any individual participating in a sponsored activity must disclose to the audience any financial relationship in which the individual benefits by receiving a salary, royalty, intellectual property rights, consulting fee, honoraria, ownership interest (e.g. stocks, stock options or other ownership interest, excluding diversified mutual funds), or other financial benefit. Financial benefits are usually associated with roles such as employment, management position, independent contractor (including contracted research), consulting, speaking and teaching, membership on advisory committees or review panels, board membership, and other activities for which remuneration is received or expected.

Commercial Support Disclosure
The Society fully complies with all ACCME requirements for commercial support and maintains a separation of promotion from education. The content or format of SIS CME activities, or its related materials, promote improvements or quality in healthcare and not a specific proprietary business interest of a commercial interest. The Spine Intervention Society is a non-profit medical society. Revenues from this and all courses are used for future research and educational endeavors.

Course Materials Copyright
Materials presented at this course have been made available by the Spine Intervention Society for educational purposes only. No distribution or reproductions of any kind, including audio and video recordings, may be made of the presentations. We reserve all rights to such material.

Code of Conduct
SIS has a zero-tolerance policy prohibiting any form of discrimination or harassment, including, but not limited to, offensive verbal or written comments related to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, gender identity, or gender expression; the display of sexual images in public spaces; deliberate intimidation, stalking, or following; harassing photography or recordings; sustained disruption of talks or other events; inappropriate physical contact; and unwelcome sexual attention.

All attendees, speakers, sponsors, staff, and volunteers at Society activities are required to agree to uphold this code of conduct during the event and in activity-related social events at off-site locations and in related online communities and social media.

If you experience harassment or hear of any incidents of unacceptable behavior, SIS asks that you inform either Margaret Klys, MJ, CAE, Executive Director/CEO, at or +1.708.505.9416 or Anne Rounds, CMP, HMCC, Director of Meetings, at or +1.415.385.7462.

Those who violate this Code of Conduct will be asked to cease any inappropriate behavior, are expected to comply immediately, and may be subject to sanctions up to and including expulsion from the activity without refund and prohibition from attendance at future Society activities.

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