Publication Rates of Abstracts Accepted to the 2010–2012 Annual Meetings of the North American Spine Society

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Study Design.

Retrospective review of conference abstracts.


The aim of this study was to determine the publication rate of podium and poster presentations at the 2010–2012 North American Spine Society (NASS) annual meetings.

Summary of Background Data.

Presentations at medical conferences are utilized to disseminate new clinical information. The orthopedic literature estimates the rate of publication for abstracts presented at major meetings to be between 34.0% and 67.1%. However, few studies have analyzed the publication rate of accepted abstracts to the NASS annual meetings.


All abstracts presented at the 2010–2012 NASS annual meetings were reviewed. PubMed and Google Scholar databases were searched to determine whether each abstract was published as a full-length manuscript before or up to 3 years after its NASS meeting presentation. Statistical analyses included descriptive statistics, Poisson regression with robust error variance, and linear regression.


A total of 1045 abstracts were accepted to the 2010–2012 NASS annual meetings. 43.8% were published before or up to 3 years after their NASS presentation. Podium presentations were more likely to be published than poster presentations (47.1% vs. 37.7%, P = 0.005). Abstracts with “Best” or “Outstanding” designations were also more likely to be published than abstracts without those designations (54.4% vs. 45.0%, P = 0.034). Presentations designated as “Best” or “Outstanding” articles had shorter time to publication than presentations without those designations (369 vs. 486 days, P = 0.002).


This study suggests that only 43.8% of abstracts accepted to NASS are published as full-length manuscripts. As such, practitioners should use caution when altering clinical practice based solely on conference presentations. Additionally, podium presentations are more likely to be published than poster presentations. This trend may be reflective of the higher quality of abstracts accepted as podiums, or may be associated with a larger number of lower-quality abstracts being accepted because of the use of the e-poster format.


Level of Evidence: 4

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