ARTHRO ABA - Belgium

last update: april 15, 2014

Dear Members,

After more than 25 years of teaching and promoting arthroscopy to Belgian residents and surgeons, ABA faces a challenge to continue this mission in the future.

Regulations and new promotional models have changed the role of the ...

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Belgian Arthroscopy Association  



The association was founded in 1985 and its first president was Staf Geens. It holds around 200 surgeons skilled in arthroscopy.

Presidency changes every 2 years, alternating between French and Dutch speakers. The president organizes a convention at the end of his mandate.

One of its goals is teaching arthroscopy: indications, surgical techniques, ...

In 1989, under the presidency of Louis LOOTVOET, the first "Open Doors" were organized. They take place four times a year in different departments.

In 1992, Marc MARTENS organized an international convention in Antwerpen.

In 1995, Jacques THIERY set up the first basic course, which takes place anually, to replace the "Open Doors".

In March of 1996, the association's tenth anniversary took place in Brugge under the theme : "Past, Present and Future in Arthroscopy" and was organized by René VERDONCK.

In May 1998 in Louvain-La-Neuve, Serge WILLEMS held his biennial congress and under the chairmanship of Bruno VANDEKERCKHOVE in Ostend (May 2000) the general assembly voted in favour of inclusion of Sportstraumatology in our interests.

Relations with European sister associations such as the Dutch NVA were already close since a first combined meeting in 1997. Jean-Pierre HUSKIN, president since 2000, initiated contacts with our French colleagues of SFA by organizing a combined symposium in Brussels in March 2001. He ended his presidency with a congress at the Chateau de Colonster in Liège, October 2002.

Frank HANDELBERG took over the presidency from then on and co-organises a combined NVA-ABA meeting on March 28th 03 in Amsterdam.

That same year ABA receives a first group of NVA travelling fellows whom also participate to a new advanced arthroscopy course organized at the Ghent University Hospital (October 17th 2003).

2004 becomes a rather busy year including the organization of 2 symposia concerning cartilage, one at ESSKA in Athens, the second at Orthopedica Belgica and finally F. HANDELBERG ends his presidency with a congress in Brussels with as topic: Articular pain in athletes.

Under the transitional co-presidency of JP. HUSKIN and F. HANDELBERG, whom both continue to build on international relations, the first with AANA, the second with the Italian SIA by participating to the respective congresses, ABA will in 2005 also actively respond to the invitation of SFA and scientifically sustain their congress of December 2005.

A second group of NVA-fellows visits Belgium in October 2005 and B. BERGHS organizes an arthroscopy course the same month.

ABA celebrates its 20th anniversary with a gala-dinner in the presence of nearly all past-presidents and spouses on October 22nd 2005 and Jean-François LABRIQUE then takes over the presidency.

In May 2006, 4 AOSSM-fellows are hosted and ABA co-organizes a combined symposium on ACL-surgery together with NVA and SFA at the ESSKA meeting of Innsbruck. ABA is also involved in Orthopaedica Belgica congress of Gent (June 06) and in the EFOST-meeting of Pavia (September 06). JF Labrique organizes a very successful technical symposium on RC repair and meniscal suture in Brussels on October 7th 06.

2007 becomes also a busy year: 4 Belgian fellows are sent to the Netherlands upon invitation of NVA. Fredrik ALMQVIST is elected new Belgian delegate for EFOST at the ISAKOS meeting in Firenze. JF LABRIQUE manages it to set up an hands-on arthroscopy course in Gent during the month of June 07 and finally presides his own congress, which is of a very high scientific level, in Lille (France) on October 20th 2007.

The year 2008 starts with a new president: Johan VANLAUWE who is immediately very busy with organizing an ABA-symposium during Orthopaedica Belgica in Antwerp (April 08) and hosting a new group of NVA-fellows (June 08). Meanwhile F. ALMQVIST makes sure that ABA will be well represented at the ESSKA congress of Porto in May 08.

Jean-François Labrique, past president but still very active member of the society organizes the First event of 2009, a shoulder arthroscopy hands on cadaver course at the anatomy laboratory of the UCL. 20 Belgian participants and 2 NVA fellows are present at this successful course.

In June 2009 four ABA fellows were invited by the NVA to attend the Utrecht cadaver course. Meanwhile, our president, Johan VanLauwe prepared his congress of October 2009 in Leuven: the topic is “Integrating Surgery & Rehabilitation … for a safe and swift return to sports’. Over 120 participants are present in concurrent sessions on ACL injuries and shoulder instability thanks to the participation of well known foreign invited speakers. Again the ABA-board elects a best free paper of one of our junior members which will be granted by a ABA support for participation to the ESSKA meeting in Oslo 2010.

End of 2009 Jean-Emile DUBUC receives the ABA-presidents cap for the next 2 years.

Under the presidency of J-E. DUBUC, 2010 starts with a second successful cadaver course at the UCL. ABA will host, together with BKS, end of May 2010 the APOSSM fellows and actively participate to the OSLO ESSKA-meeting in June. Four NVA fellows will visit Belgium at the end of June 2010.

In October 2010 the 25th anniversary of ABA was feasted during a symposium to which the youngsters were invited to give lectures and to meet the older generation including some founding members.

2011 started with the now yearly organized “hands-on shoulder arthroscopy cadaver course” by JF Labrique. Thanks to Kristoff Corten, a new recruited board member, we participated actively to the Orthopaedica Belgica congress of Liège with a symposium on hip arthroscopy. Shortly later, the first week of July, four ABA-fellows visited the Netherlands upon invitation of the NVA.

The presidency of J-E Dubuc ended with his congress held on October 15th in Brussels with a topic on shoulder and a topic on ankle problems. Despite still more than 70 participants attended this congress, an existential crisis seemed to rise shortly later…

But…, Nicole Pouliart takes over the presidency for 2012-2013. She is the first woman to reach this mandate since the founding of the society and is convinced that teaching must be the essential preoccupation of our society. This must and can be achieved on three levels: a basic level with a course to be organized by Tom Van Isacker in fall 2012, an intermediate level: the shoulder arthroscopy cadaver course in May 2012 and an advanced level: a specialized travelling fellowship that Kristoff Corten will co-ordinate. Besides these major goals, ABA will also participate actively to the 2012 ESSKA meeting in Geneva, to Orthopaedica Belgica 2012 congress and invite 4 Dutch travelling fellows for one week in Belgium.

In 2013 the society flirted with a deep crisis, not financial, but existential!

Important changes were voted during the General Assembly of November 27th 2013:
ABA will no longer organize symposia, congresses or courses itself, but will act as a “Foundation for Arthroscopy Fellowships”.
The General Assembly unanimously decides that grants should be allocated according to well-defined criteria with a maximum of 15.000 € / year.
Grants are in the first place allocated for international intra-European travelling fellowships and secondary for arthroscopic cadaver courses.

The board of directors is in charge of defining criteria for grants.