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A review of all the presentations at three major spine specialty meetings held over a 3-year period.To determine the rate of publication in peer-reviewed journals after presentations at major spine meetings conducted annually by the following three organizations: North American Spine Society (NASS), Scoliosis Research Society (SRS), and International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine (ISSLS).The rate of publication for presentations at national and international meetings has been determined for medical and surgical subspecialties. This rate has been used to judge the quality of the content of the meetings and to determine the validity of the research presentations.All presentations either in poster or oral presentation form were entered into a database covering a 3-year period for spine specialty meetings conducted annually by the following three organizations: NASS 1990 to 1992, SRS 1991 to 1993, and ISSLS 1991 to 1993. A computer search for each abstract was performed with the Melvyl Medline Plus database to determine if the abstract had been published in a peer-reviewed journal from 1990 to the end of 1997. Publication rates for presentations at these three meetings were determined over a 3-year period.A total of 1186 abstracts were listed over a 3-year period in the final programs of these three meetings for the years 1991 to 1993 (SRS, ISSLS) and 1990 to 1992 (NASS). Of these 1186 abstracts, 516 were published in peer-reviewed journals, giving an overall publication rate of 43.5%. The publication rates for the three different meetings (NASS, SRS, ISSLS) were similar, with values of 40%, 47%, and 45% respectively. More than 90% of the publications resulting from these meetings were published within a period of 4 years from the date of the meeting.The publication rates of presentations at three major spine specialty meetings are high and quite comparable with the publication rates of meetings in other medical subspecialties. This reflects the high quality of the meeting programs and validates their selection process.