Given the trajectory one has to wonder what Medtronic will do at next year's NASS conference to complete the trilogy. Last year, their minimalist booth gently nudged the winds of gossip and generated some interest in the hallways and corridors of the New Orleans conference center. Surely, after such a bold and noteworthy move, things would return to status quo this year, right? Wrong. The spine market leader made the decision to avoid the meeting altogether. Leave it to Medtronic to make a statement! Flipping through my conference guide, convincing myself that I had missed their listing, it slowly but surely dawned on me that they had taken their minimalist artistry to new heights.
The picture became clearer as the murmurings became louder. Allegedly, Medtronic is demonstrating their frustration and rebellion against NASS for their stance in the INFUSE saga. NASS has previously published research in the Spine Journal sharing the central premise that Medtronic-sponsored research supporting the INFUSE product was misleading and biased. The many controversies that surround the product have plagued Medtronic for years and continue to do so. The jury is still out on whether or not the criticism of Medtronic, and more to the point the sheer backlash surrounding the INFUSE product, is totally warranted. Like they say, there are of course two sides to every story. The more interesting, and decidedly more fun part of this saga, is speculating on what Medtronic might decide to do next year. A minimalist booth becomes no booth from last year to this year. Will there be a hole in the conference floor next year? Perhaps a cube shaped mirror? How about a monochrome sculpture of some sort? I can't wait to see. Donald Judd would be proud.