APSA Abstract Submission Guidelines

The intent of the scientific program at the annual meeting is to include the broadest possible scope of the science and practice of pediatric surgery. Abstracts are welcome on any subject in clinical and experimental pediatric surgery including patient series, new operations, laboratory findings, preliminary results and diagnostic techniques. Case reports are discouraged. Any Regular, International or Associate member of APSA is eligible to submit an abstract for consideration. Abstracts from Candidate and Resident members, or individuals who are not members of APSA, require sponsorship by a Regular, Associate or International APSA member.

Abstracts are judged on originality, scientific merit, study design, clarity of expression, presentation of data, adherence to the rules of submission and relevance to pediatric surgical care or research. 

All presenters must register for the APSA 2021 Annual Meeting.
Registration will be available in January 2021.  

2021 Annual Meetings of APSA & IPEG
May 20-24, 2021
JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa
Phoenix, AZ USA
IPEG abstract submission is separate, and details will be available soon.

Please note that while submission to both meetings is encouraged, the same abstract cannot be presented at both the APSA and IPEG Meetings.

Abstract Submission Period

Abstract submission for the APSA 2021 Annual Meeting is open August 25 - October 13, 2020, 11:59 p.m. (ET). Authors will be notified of selection status by December 31.    


Accepted abstracts may be eligible for a variety of APSA Awards. Read the Abstract Submission Guide for eligibility requirements. Learn more about the awards and past recipients.
  • Posters of Distinction – APSA selects two recipients for outstanding posters: one in basic science and one in clinical. View additional information.
  • M. Judah Folkman Award – APSA and the Association of Pediatric Surgery Training Program Directors select two recipients for outstanding research presentation: one in basic science and one in clinical. View additional information
  • Quality, Safety and Value Award in Surgery – awarded to the manuscript that best demonstrates quality improvement principles, patient safety initiatives and/or addresses the value proposition by demonstrating an improvement in outcomes while at the same time reducing cost or other measures of resource utilization. Manuscript submission is mandatory, but not restricted to the Journal of Pediatric Surgery . The quality of the manuscript and potential impact of the intervention on the author’s own institution will serve as the primary criteria for judging. View additional information, including eligibility details.
  • Innovation Award – Awarded for best innovation abstract presented at the annual meeting. View additional information.
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Abstract Submission Requirements

Abstract Title

Short and descriptive titles are preferred, avoiding declarative or interrogatory title styles.


Authors must disclose any financial interest/relationship that they have with any commercial interest related to the content of the presentation. In addition, authors must identify any off-label or experimental uses of any drugs that are presented in the abstract.

Informed Consent (IRB and IACUC) Approval

Institutional Review Board (IRB) and/or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approval must be indicated for all studies involving human subjects and/or animals. IRB approval is required for retrospective reviews. Indication on the abstract form that IRB/IACUC approval has been obtained implies that written approval from the appropriate institutional committee has been obtained. Authors of abstracts that are exempt from IRB approval must provide documentation of exemption in the form of a letter from the chair of their IRB, or provide a letter from the senior APSA member author on the abstract attesting to the fact that the study design meets all criteria for exemption from IRB review and approval. The program committee reserves the right to refuse claims of exemption if, in the opinion of the program committee members, the study design does not meet criteria for exemption. IRB/IACUC requirements must be satisfied upon submission of the abstract. Failure to comply with this requirement will result in the abstract being withdrawn. There will be no exceptions to this rule. 

Any studies involving human subjects must conform to the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki of the World Medical Association (Clinical 57 Research 1966; 14:103) and must meet all of the requirements governing informed consent of the country in which it was performed. To complete your abstract submission you will be required to upload a copy of your IRB/IACUC approval (or equivalent of) or exemption for the abstract to be considered.  If you are submitting an abstract based on a cooperative group trial results (COG), your institutional IRB for that specific trial will suffice.
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Abstracts will be considered in the following categories:
  • Advocacy
  • Basic Science
  • Critical Care
  • Education
  • Ethics
  • Fetal/Developmental Biology
  • Gastrointestinal Clinical Pediatric Surgery
  • General Clinical Pediatric Surgery
  • Global
  • Innovation
  • Nutrition
  • Obesity
  • Oncology
  • Practice (business of pediatric surgery, professional considerations, etc.)
  • Quality and Safety
  • Thoracic Clinical Pediatric Surgery
  • Trauma


One to two keywords that best categorize your abstract are required.
  • Abdominal wall defects
  • Anorectal malformations
  • Appendicitis
  • Blunt trauma
  • Business and practice of surgery, hospital systems improvement
  • CDH
  • Chest wall deformities
  • ECMO and extracorporeal support
  • Esophageal atresia/tracheo-esophageal fistula
  • Gynecologic conditions
  • Hirschsprung disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Minimally invasive surgery
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis
  • Neonatal surgery
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Oncology (other)
  • Penetrating trauma
  • Quality improvement initiative
  • Short bowel syndrome
  • Soft tissue infections and disorders
  • Tissue engineering
  • Wilms Tumor
  • Other (please provide one or two keywords which categorize your work further if none of or only one of the above applies)

Abstract Text

  • The abstract must be written in English. Authors who do not utilize English as a first language are encouraged to seek assistance for writing abstracts with proper English grammar and syntax.
  • Authors and institutions must be omitted from the abstract text. Because of the blinding process used during the review process these rules must be observed. Non-conforming abstracts will NOT be considered.
  • Abstracts must be limited to 300 words and one graphic element. A graphic element will not count against the 300 word limit.
  • Tables are limited to a maximum of 7 columns and 10 rows.
  • Graphics should be submitted in a .jpg or .gif format.  Do not submit .bmp files.  Maximum file size is 30MB.
  • The abstract should state clearly the purpose for the study or review, the results obtained and the conclusions. Promises to explain the work or vague presentations of data will result in rejection.
  • The reviewers prefer and will look with greatest favor on abstracts submitted in the Purpose-Methods-Results-Conclusion format.
    • The Purpose should be a succinct statement of the research question or hypothesis to be addressed.
    • The Methods should include the clinical setting (taking care not to identify the institution name), sampling criteria and inclusive dates. The control group should be adequately described. Specific mention should be made of the number of experimental subjects or patients in groups (n=). The statistical method and levels of significance should be included.
    • The Results should be stated in sufficient detail to support the conclusion, with only enough interpretation to indicate relevance; extended discussion or literature reviews should be avoided.
    • The Conclusion should summarize the abstract (We conclude...) with a brief statement of findings clearly supported by the data, consistent with the research purpose, and with a minimum of further suggestions or inferences. The conclusion should be readable as a short, stand-alone statement.
  • The reviewers will consider abstracts submitted in different styles only when the above-described format is inappropriate to the content.
  • Tables, figures and graphs should not be used in the abstract unless they are simple and illustrate the central theme of the work in ways that text cannot.
  • Abbreviations conjured up for use within an abstract are discouraged. Thus, non-standard abbreviations should be avoided. There should be no abbreviations used in the conclusion. Authors agree to copy editing of the abstract.
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Originality and Duplicate Submission

  1. Abstracts are submitted with the understanding the data and essential substance are original. Members, corresponding authors and sponsors have a duty to avoid any appearance of duplicate publication.
  2. Originality requires that the data are not part of any previously published book or journal, or other work previously presented, accepted for presentation, or being considered for presentation at a regional, national or international scientific meeting or organization where papers are chosen through a peer review process (unless the other meeting will take place after APSA).
  3. If an abstract is submitted for consideration at APSA and another regional/national/international meeting simultaneously, and the other meeting takes place prior to APSA, the abstract must either be: (i) withdrawn from APSA consideration immediately upon acceptance for presentation at the other meeting, or (ii) withdrawn from consideration at the other meeting and presented at APSA. Although submission is encouraged, the same abstract cannot be presented at both the 2021 IPEG and the 2021 APSA meetings.
  4. The Program Committee will determine the presentation method for selected abstracts, e.g. podium (oral presentation in the Plenary, Scientific or Quick Shot sessions) or display posters (without oral presentation). Submitters whose abstract was not chosen for oral presentation may be offered the option of a poster display at the discretion of the Program Committee. The presenter may accept or decline this option with no associated penalty.
  5. Any work that is published or electronically available in a peer-reviewed journal before the date of the APSA meeting is NOT permissible. If a manuscript associated with the submitted abstract has been accepted for publication, the abstract must be immediately withdrawn upon acceptance for publication in journals (print or online) unless the publication date is after the annual meeting.  
  6. Exceptions to duplicate submission: (i) abstracts presented at the ACS Surgical Forum in the same year, (ii) data presented in a local city, county or state presentation or at the authors’ institution, such as at an institution-sponsored research day, citywide society meeting or statewide meeting, (iii) data previously presented in the context of an invited lecture, (iv) data presented at national disease-specific or topic-specific conferences or workshops (e.g. ELSO, COG, IFMSS, Keystone Symposium, etc.).
  7. Abstracts for consideration for the Quality, Safety and Value Award in Surgery have a required manuscript submission to the Journal of Pediatric Surgery via the regular APSA channels by the stated deadline, , or a journal of the authors’ choosing with a copy of the manuscript submitted to the APSA Quality Award Subcommittee.
  8. Failure of authors or sponsors to comply with these guidelines will result in penalties by the APSA Board of Governors including abstract withdrawal and a potential two-year prohibition on submitting additional work to the organization.
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Credit for authorship implies substantial contributions to conception, design, analysis and interpretation of data, and to writing and revising the abstract. The number of authors should be reasonable given the subject and experimental design. Data generated from multiple institutions should include an author from each institution or permission from a representative from each institution to use the data.


The sponsor agrees to assume the responsibilities above. In addition to making sure the abstract is valid, ethical and understandable, the sponsor must assess its value to the membership. The sponsor is expected to assist the presenter with editing should a manuscript be submitted to the Journal of Pediatric Surgery. The sponsor must provide a signed letter e-mailed to APSA Headquarters by October 13, 2020, affirming this level of supervision and assuring the program committee that oversight will continue through preparation of the presentation and the manuscript.

Corresponding Author

The corresponding author must provide a reliable email address at the time of abstract submission and must notify APSA Headquarters of any changes in contact information. In addition to acting as the liaison for the abstract(s), the duty of the corresponding author is to warrant to APSA he or she has reviewed the material to assure the quality and integrity of the work, and will supervise preparation of the presentation and the manuscript. The individual identified as the presenting author during submission is also the corresponding author. APSA headquarters must be notified of any changes in contact information.

Presenting Author

In some cases, the presenting author may differ from the corresponding author. This is permissible. If so, this must be delineated when the abstract is submitted for consideration. The level of training for the presenting author at the time of the meeting must be documented (i.e. college student, medical student, resident, fellow, nurse practitioner or physician assistant, attending surgeon, other). This information will be utilized only after blinded abstract review for programming purposes. APSA headquarters must be notified of any changes in presenting author information as soon as possible.


Presentation Limits

The maximum number of podium presentations any individual can make is two, although an individual may display an unlimited number of posters. Authors agree to present their abstracts on the days and times assigned by APSA. The program committee will not honor requests to present on a certain day or time.*

*If an author is scheduled to present two abstracts during concurrent sessions, it is the responsibility of the presenting author to contact APSA staff once the preliminary program is finalized and the program chair will remedy the schedduling conflict with the presenting author.  The program chair will make every attempt to ensure authors do not have overlapping presentations. Last minute scheduling changes are not permissible.  If the presenting author cannot present, he/she must contact APSA staff as soon as possible to name a replacement or withdraw the abstract from presentation.

Presentation Methods 

The Program Committee determines the presentation method of accepted abstracts. See detailed descriptions below.

Podium Presentations

  • Oral presentations in Plenary or Scientific sessions. General time for presentation ranges from 4-5 minutes. If the abstract will be presented in a committee breakout session, more time may be allotted for presentation and discussion. This will be determined once the program is constructed, and authors will be contacted accordingly.
  • Usually complex clinical or experimental studies or a clinical series, as well as straightforward clinical series or basic science studies.

Poster Display

  • Poster boards are provided by APSA.
  • Posters are displayed in a designated viewing area.
  • ​Size - posters cannot not exceed 4 feet tall by 4 feet long (1.22 meters).
  • NEW! A select number of posters may be chosen for a short oral presentation based on level of training of the presenting author (eligible students and residents only). This will be communicated once abstracts are reviewed and accepted.

Video Presentations

General Information
  • Most appropriate to demonstrate new techniques or operations.
  • Must include an abstract submitted through the abstract submission site.
  • Abstracts accompanied by videos are considered for Plenary or Scientific sessions.
  • Digital format only.
  • Must include audio narration of the procedure (presenters cannot narrate from the podium).
  • Video and audio cannot contain any information identifying institutions or authors. If your abstract is accepted, you will be asked to bring an authored version of your video to the conference for presentation, which can include institution and author information.
  • Video presentations will be dispersed throughout the meeting in the category deemed most appropriate.

  • Video file maximum is 250MB. If a video is accepted, authors may petition APSA to provide a file with higher quality video.
  • Acceptable video file formats are .mov and .mp4.
  • An aspect ratio of 16:9 or 4:3 is required for all video submissions.


The corresponding author for each abstract will be notified of the status of their abstracts via e-mail by December 31, 2020. It is the responsibility of the corresponding author to notify the rest of the team.


Authors of accepted abstracts in the Plenary and Scientific sessions are encouraged to submit a manuscript for publication in the APSA edition of the Journal of Pediatric Surgery via the regular APSA channels. Video and poster abstracts, except those identified as candidates for the Quality Award, are not eligible for manuscript submission. Additional information will be provided in February 2021.