High Energy, High Turnout,
High Science...

for IFSO 2014 in Montréal

Published in September 2014 Issue             

Organizers say nearly 2,000 attended the IFSO 2014 World Congress in Montréal, one of the largest turnouts ever for the scientific obesity meeting that draws researchers, scientists and clinicians from around the world. About 80 countries and member organizations were represented at this year’s meeting, which included a large contingent from the ASMBS -- approximately 400 members.

In addition to the hundreds of abstracts, courses and workshops, and an international conference on sleeve gastrectomy, the meeting featured nearly 50 surgeries beamed live to the meeting hall in Montréal over five whirlwind days at the end of August.

Michel Gagner, MD

“It was amazing. Basically, you could see a different surgery practically every hour from different parts of the world and interact with the surgical team in real time. It was great to see,” said Michel Gagner, MD, IFSO 2014 Congress President.

“It was a tremendous amount of work for the organization, but I feel with these live surgeries and the overall scientific program, we accomplished what we set out to do, which is to raise the scientific bar of our meeting,” said Dr. Gagner. “We put together and implemented a fast-paced, high-quality program that had something for everyone, no matter which country they came from.”

Highlights from the program include a live surgery during the 5th International Conference on Sleeve Gastrectomy, the Mason Lecture entitled, “Severe Obesity is a Congenial Disease – Epigenetic,” the Scopinaro lecture on why obesity is a disease, the presidential address, presentations on the differences between sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass for type 2 diabetes, robotic surgery, principles of obesity management and randomized controlled trials in the field of metabolic surgery for type 2 diabetes.

“The IFSO World Congress is a different kind of a meeting that is a complement to ObesityWeek. If you really want to know what’s going on in the world of obesity, you need to go to both of these great meetings,” said Dr. Gagner.

IFSO is an over 8,000-plus member organization from 58 national societies with four regional chapters: North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia Pacific. The ASMBS is its largest member organization and leaders from the ASMBS say the relationship between the society and federation is only growing stronger.

Jaime Ponce, MD

“We see many opportunities for greater collaboration between the two organizations in terms of education, data generation and scientific exchange,” said Jaime Ponce, MD, immediate-past President of ASMBS and IFSO North American Chapter President. “We can bring the best of the best together from all over the world to advance the science of obesity and the care of our patients.”

These areas of collaboration include the further development of a global registry on metabolic and bariatric surgery, activities at ObesityWeek 2014, a day dedicated to the North American chapter of IFSO at the ASMBS 2015 Spring Event in Las Vegas, and plans for an international MBSAQIP (Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program).

“We hope the lessons we’ve learned and gains we’re seeing from MBSAQIP can be extended internationally,” said John M. Morton, MD, president-elect of the ASMBS. “We are already finding ways to collaborate while a formal international program is established by helping international programs integrate best practices for treatment and data collection.”

Obesity and diabetes are global problems that continue to grow. No individual country or region has a monopoly on what to do about the disease or how to treat it. Different interventions and policies are clearly needed to address regional differences and gaps in care.

Rudolf Weiner, MD

“Despite it’s proven safety and effectiveness, metabolic and bariatric surgery is still not well supported in some parts of the world. In other parts it’s growing quite rapidly,” said Professor Rudolf Weiner, MD, the newly elected president of IFSO. “IFSO and its member organizations have a role to play in both these situations to ensure appropriate use so that patients can achieve the maximum benefit.”

According to IFSO Executive Secretary, Manuela Mazzarella IFSO continues to grow as an organization. Since 2010, it has added more than 3,000 members and 14 national societies.

Manuela Mazzarella

“There are significant benefits to membership and more members should take advantage of it,” said Mazzarella. “There are incredible global networking and educational opportunities for surgeons and integrated health professionals and access to all our programs and publications.”

IFSO members, which include all ASMBS members, enjoy discounts on registration fees for IFSO congresses and IFSO-endorsed meetings throughout the world, as well as receive a discount on a subscription to its journal, Obesity Surgery. The next IFSO World Congress is in Vienna, Austria from August 26 to August 29, 2015.

For more information about IFSO, visit www.ifso.com.