As the outgoing president of the Arthroscopy Association of North America (AANA), it is my honor and pleasure to introduce not only a new addition to AANA’s annual Specialty Day program, called the “AANA Innovations Lecture” series, but also its inaugural speaker, Stephen S. Burkhart, M.D. This new lecture, to be included in all subsequent programs, represents AANA’s premier invitation to participate in AANA’s Specialty Day. One of the primary goals of incorporating such a presentation is to highlight and reinforce the innovative nature that many surgeons inherently possess and to underscore the significant contributions that AANA surgeons and others have made to arthroscopy and related surgery over the past 40 years. This spirit of investigation and discovery has resulted in tremendous advancements, and there are specific individuals who have been instrumental in leading those efforts. We hope that innovators such as these will agree to share their knowledge and experience on an annual basis. I can think of no one who better represents this ideal and has demonstrated the dedication and commitment to achieve such significant and impactful innovations over the course of his career than Steve Burkhart.
Dr. Burkhart is an orthopaedic surgeon whose entire career has been focused around the development and advancement of arthroscopic surgery of the shoulder. He earned an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering at Rice University before completing medical school at the University of Texas Medical Branch. Next, he did his residency training in orthopaedic surgery at the Mayo Clinic, followed by a sports medicine fellowship with Dr. Robert Larson in Eugene, Oregon. He then moved back to his native Texas to join the San Antonio Orthopedic Group, where he maintained a busy private practice and an academic fellowship until his recent retirement in January 2020. He continues to serve as chairman of the board of the Burkhart Research Institute for Orthopaedics (BRIO).
Dr. Burkhart has been very active in arthroscopic education for many years. He is a past president of the Arthroscopy Association of North America as well as a past president of the Orthopedic Learning Center. He has published more than 200 peer-reviewed scientific articles and authored more than 50 book chapters. He has written 3 influential textbooks on shoulder arthroscopy, the so-called “Cowboy Trilogy.” Dr. Burkhart holds more than 50 U.S. patents and has been the designer or co-designer of more than 700 instruments and implants used in arthroscopic surgery. Perhaps no individual has done more to advance modern shoulder surgery than Dr. Burkhart, whose research efforts along with his surgical techniques, instruments, and implants, have resulted in several paradigm shifts in the way shoulder disorders are both conceptualized and managed.
As an unfortunate consequence of the cancellation of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons 2020 meeting, Dr. Burkhart was not able to present his AANA Specialty Day lecture entitled “The Basis of Innovation: Depth, Breadth, and Tenacity” on March 28th, 2020 in Orlando as scheduled. However, he did very generously volunteer to write his presentation in manuscript form and submit it for publication to the Arthroscopy Journal. We are most grateful to Dr. Burkhart for his willingness to publish this important lecture, and I feel very confident that readers and innovators throughout the world will find it insightful, enlightening, and even inspiring.
© 2020 by the Arthroscopy Association of North America