Welcome Letter: World Federation of Skull Base Societies

Professor Michael Gleeson

Dear Colleagues

It gives me enormous pleasure to add my welcome to all of you who have come to Osaka. It hardly seems 4 years since we gathered in Brighton for the 6th International Congress of the World Federation of Skull Base Societies. The congress in Brighton was a great success and I know that this one here in Japan will be even better and just as enjoyable. Professor Kenji Ohata and his team together with Professor Basant Misra have worked tirelessly on our behalf to provide a stimulating programme that they have called “Inspiration, Creation and Collaboration of the Future.”

Compared to almost all other specialities, skull base surgery is young, very young indeed. From relatively humble beginnings just under 50 years ago, the pioneers of skull base surgery developed techniques and approaches that reduced the mortality and morbidity of surgery to remove tumours from the skull base. Without their skills and determination, these tumours would have slowly killed our patients or left them moribund. More important, the pioneers inspired a generation of surgeons to follow in their footsteps by brilliant presentations and open discussion at the early International Skull Base Congresses. As time went by, the introduction of advances in technology, particularly neuroradiology, powerful optics, neural monitoring and stereotaxy combined to improve outcomes for patients. And, of course, all of this went hand in hand with the introduction of skull base training programmes and the focussing of patient management on centres of multi-disciplinary, clinical and scientific excellence.

Close collaboration with industry continues to provide new tools to address some of the problems that would have seemed insoluble just a few decades ago. It is at these congresses that we are able to view these technologies, speak one to one with those who develop and market them, speak one to one with those who already use them. We are extremely grateful to the industries and trade who support us and make our congresses possible. 

So what is next?  Surely an explosion of genetic techniques, correcting the spelling mistakes of mother nature and correcting the genetic code. These are very exciting times for the current generation of skull base clinicians. It is here in Osaka that we will learn about new developments, network with colleagues who represent every discipline involved in skull base diseases and exchange opinion.  Most important, we will catch up with old friends and make new friends to share the future of our specialty with.

It has been a great honour to be your President for the last 4 years. Once again, thank you Professor Ohata for all your hard work. Enjoy your time in Japan and I look forward to meeting you all.

Kind regards and best wishes,

Professor Michael Gleeson
Professor Michael Gleeson, MD, FRCS, FRACS hons, FDS hons.
President of the World Federation of Skull Base Societies

Basant Misra

Dear Friends,

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the 7th International Congress of the World Federation of the Skull Base Societies scheduled from 14 – 17 June 2016 at Osaka, Japan. Let me at the outset thank you all to have elected me as the President of the World Federation of Skull Base Societies for next 4 years, 2016 – 2020. It is a rare honor and distinct privilege to receive this recognition. I would like to thank Professor Kenji Ohata, Congress President of the 7th International Congress for all his efforts and hard work to make the Osaka Meet a memorable one, which I have no doubt will be one.

Charles Darwin said “It is in the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed”. Hence, there could not have been a better theme of our meeting than “Creation and collaboration for the future” Skull Base Surgery is at crossroads. The initial enthusiasm of achieving eradication of a seemingly ‘inoperable’ tumor by novel skull base approaches has been questioned. The last decade saw the pendulum swing to the other extreme with increasing popularity of endoscopic surgery and radiosurgery. Thus minimally invasive neurosurgery became the fashion. Realization has now dawned, slowly but surely, that endoscopic surgery and radiosurgery cannot replace but should complement skull base surgery. A judicious use of skull base approaches, with appropriate adjuncts and radiosurgery is the best way forward.

Skull Base Surgeons have an obsessive personality to find solution that ‘seemingly’ does not exist to problems. That has been the history of our specialty over the decades and we have crossed obstacles by collaboration and innovation. Let us meet again to collaborate and exchange ideas, innovate and achieve excellence for the betterment of our patients. Let us join together for a better future. As Mahatma Gandhi said “The future depends on what you do today”.

See you in Osaka.

Basant Misra
Basant Misra
President Elect, World Federation of Skull Base Societies.

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