International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders (IFSO) Chapter Spotlight: European Chapter (EC)

| June 1, 2022

by Priv. Doz. Dr. Daniel Moritz Felsenreich, PhD; Prof. Dr. Martin Fried, MD, PhD; and Univ. Prof. Dr. Gerhard Prager, MD 

Dr. Felsenreich is with the Division of Visceral Surgery, Department of General Surgery, Medical University of Vienna in Vienna, Austria. Dr. Fried is with OB Klinika, Center for Treatment of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders in Prague, Czech Republic. Dr. Prager is a Professor for Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery with the Division of Visceral Surgery, Department of General Surgery, Medical University of Vienna in Vienna, Austria.

Funding: No funding was provided.

Disclosures: DM Felsenreich is Executive Director of IFSO-EC and Representative of Young IFSO-EC. M Fried was Executive Director until 2022, is a member of the Senior Advisory Board and an Obesity Facts Representative. G Prager is the former President of IFSO-EC (2018–2021), Chair of the Bylaws Committee, and a member of the Scientific Committee.

Bariatric Times. 2022;19(6):18–19.

The International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders-European Chapter (IFSO-EC) is organized as a scientific organization composed of 31 national bariatric societies in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (Figure 1). Member countries include Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Uzbekistan.1 IFSO-EC currently (as of May 2022) have a total of 2,769 members, 2,763 of whom are members of the national societies mentioned above, and six persons are individual members of countries without national societies (Cyprus, Estonia, Georgia, Croatia, and Malta). IFSO-EC is an integral part of IFSO, acting in alignment with the bylaws of IFSO but with distinct officers, executive council, and assembly structure.

Currently, the official journals of IFSO-EC are Obesity Surgery, published by Springer and Obesity FACTS, published by Karger; both are available for free to all IFSO-EC members.2,3 

The main goals and future activities of the EC were formulated at the IFSO European Symposium in Prague in 2004. Subsequently, it was officially approved by the Executive Council of IFSO at the IFSO World Congress in Maastricht, Netherlands in 2005. The formation of the EC helped to organize regular regional meetings to share and discuss the latest research and scientific findings. The main goal was bringing together surgeons and allied health professionals, such as nurse practitioners, dietitians, nutritionists, psychologists, internists, and anesthesiologists, all involved in the treatment of patients with obesity and the challenge of bariatric surgery.4,5

This article is based on the current positions and situation as supported by the IFSO-European Chapter in May 2022 (Figure 2).6


The IFSO-EC Executive Council is composed of the following members:

  • President: Jean-Marc Chevallier (France)
  • Former President, 2018–2021: Gerhard Prager (Austria)
  • President Elect: Nicola Di Lorenzo (Italy)
  • Executive Director: Daniel Moritz Felsenreich (Austria) 
  • Member at large to IFSO: Paulina Salminen (Finland)
  • Treasurer: Maurizio De Luca (Italy)
  • President of the next IFSO-EC Congress in Zurich in 2023: Ralph Peterli (Switzerland)

The following are non-voting members of the IFSO-EC Executive Council:

  • Obesity Facts Representative: Martin Fried (Czech Republic)
  • Obesity Surgery Representative: Edo Aarts (Netherlands)
  • Chair of the Scientific Committee: Maurizio De Luca (Italy)
  • Chair of the Communication and Development Committee: Joan Pujol Rafols (Spain)
  • Chair of the Bylaws Committee: Gerhard Prager (Austria)
  • Young IFSO-EC Representative: Daniel Moritz Felsenreich (Austria)
  • Chairs of the Integrated Health Committee: Tair Ben Porat (Israel) and Shiri Sherf Dagan (Israel)
  • Chair of the Senior Advisory Board: Alberic Fiennes (United Kingdom)

The General Assembly is a composition of all individual members of the IFSO-European Chapter. A General Assembly meeting is held every other year at the IFSO-EC congress.6

The following Committees are part of IFSO-EC:

Bylaws Committee:

  • Chairman: 
    • Gerhard Prager (Austria)
  • Members: 
    • Rudolf Weiner (Germany)
    • Alberic Fiennes (United Kingdom) 
    • Luc Lemmens (Belgium) 
    • Jerome Dargent (France)
    • Yuri Yashkov (Russia)
    • Michel Suter (Switzerland)

Scientific Committee:

  • Chairmen: 
    • Maurizio De Luca (Italy
    • Marco Bueter (Switzerland))
  • Members: 
    • Karin Dolezalova (Czech Republic)
    • Torsten Olbers (Sweden)
    • Rachel Batterham (United Kingdom)
    • Carel Le Roux (United Kingdom)
    • Francois Pattou (France)
    • Mikael Wiren (Sweden)
    • Joan Pujol Rafols (Spain)
    • Gerhard Prager (Austria)
    • Bernd Schultes (Switzerland)

Committee of Development and Communication:

  • Chairman: 
    • Joan Pujol Rafols (Spain)
  • Members: 
    • Yitka Graham (United Kingdom)
    • Anna Casajoana (Spain)
    • Edo Aarts (Netherlands)
    • Tigran Poghosyan (France)
    • Roxanna Zakeri (United Kingdom)
    • Lidia Castangeto Gissey (Italy)

Committee of Integrated Health:

  • Chairpeople:
    • Tair Ben Porat (Israel)
    • Shiri Sherf Dagan (Israel)
  • Members: 
    • Jenny Abraham (United Kingdom)
    • Yitka Graham (United Kingdom)
    • Laura Heusschen (Netherlands)
    • Violeta Moize (Spain)
    • Fausta Micanti (Italy)

Senior Advisory Board:

  • Chairman: 
    • Alberic Fiennes (United Kingdom)
  • Members: 
    • Michel Suter (Switzerland)
    • Luigi Angrisani (Italy)
    • Rudolf Weiner (Germany)
    • Jacques Himpens (Belgium)
    • Martin Fried (Czech Republic)

The Senior Advisory Board is the ultimate regulatory authority of review and advice to the Executive Board in terms of guidelines; recognitions; prescription of procedures, treatment, and pathway protocols; patient/surgeon advice; and any other clinical advice or safety documents.

Tasks and Strategies of IFSO-EC Based on the Statutes

The special interest of IFSO-EC is the bariatric activities in Europe.4 The enormous scientific potential in Europe can be used as an important force for the development of bariatric surgery. Its tasks and strategies include:

  • Coordination of scientific collaboration among the various national European (and other) bariatric surgical organizations at the European level
  • Collaboration with the official authorities of the European Union (EU) (e.g., European Parliament, Council of the EU), national governmental organizations, and other international organizations (e.g., World Health Organization). Projects should be based on the awareness and prevention of obesity and the treatment pathways of bariatric and metabolic surgery.
  • Organization and coordination of broad European bariatric scientific activities, such as congresses and national meetings 
  • Collaboration with other surgical and nonsurgical obesity-focused organizations, such as European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO), European Association for Endoscopic Surgery and other Interventional Techniques (EAES), International Obesity Task Force (IOTF), and relevant patient advocacy groups
  • Collaboration with European healthcare funding/healthcare provider organizations on health economics, safety, and effectiveness of bariatric surgery

Current and Future Projects of IFSO-EC

Joint congresses between IFSO-EC and EASO are planned every three to four years to internalize the integrated treatment and research of obesity. 

In 2020, common clinical practice guidelines were published by EAES, EASO, IFSO-EC, and European Society for Peri-operative Care of the Obese Patient (ESPCOP).10 Currently the same group has published an network metaanalysis based on randomized controled trials (RCTs) (guideline extentions), comparing different surgical bariatric procedures in terms of various outcomes.11

The creation of new European practical collaborative guidelines of EAES and IFSO-EC on the treatment (conservative and surgical) of obesity is planned in the next two years. These guidelines are meant as a practical directory for European healthcare providers.

IFSO-EC is continuously organizing webinars, journal clubs, and discussions to continuously promote a scientific exchange among members. The IFSO-EC video gallery of standard, revisional, and endoluminal procedures is growing fast. Additionally, expert interviews are included as a highlight.12 IFSO-EC is organizing retrospective and prospective multinational and multidisciplinary research projects.

IFSO-EC is implementing a fellow training and certification program by the European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS), with trainees to become Fellow of the European Board of Surgery/Bariatric Surgery (FEBS/BS).

The number of IFSO-EC members is increasing. Young IFSO-EC is an expanding group of active young surgeons all over Europe.13 The next goals of Young-IFSO EC are:

  • Connection of young bariatric surgeons all over Europe
  • Transfer of knowledge, experiences, and presentation skills in a safe space (e.g., Journal Club, Congress Sessions)
  • Supporting new members with the raising of scholarships, grants, and fellowships
  • Organization of interdisciplinary and multicentered research projects
  • Connection to young divisions of associated societies (e.g., Young investigators of EASO, UEMS of EAES)

IFSO-EC on Social Media

  • IFSO-EC Video Gallery:
  • Facebook (information on IFSO-EC activities are mainly shared on the global IFSO account):
  • Twitter (information on IFSO-EC activities are mainly shared on the global IFSO account):, @IfsoSecretariat15

IFSO-EC Presidents: 

  • Jerome Dargent (France), 2006–2008
  • Luc Lemmens (Belgium), 2008–2010
  • Rudolf Weiner (Germany), 2010–2012
  • Yuri Yashkov (Russia), 2012–2014
  • Alberic Fiennes (United Kingdom), 2014–2016
  • Michel Suter (Switzerland), 2016–2018
  • Gerhard Prager (Austria), 2018–2021 (extended due to COVID-19)
  • Jean-Marc Chevallier (France), 2021–2023 (current President)
  • Nicola Di Lorenzo (Italy), 2023–2025 (President Elect)

Planned IFSO/IFSO-EC meetings in Europe:7,8

  • 2023: 3rd IFSO-EC Congress in Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2023: 26th IFSO-World Congress in Naples, Italy
  • 2024: 11th IFSO-EC Congress in Vienna, Austria

IFSO/IFSO-EC meetings held in Europe since 2004:7,8 

  • 2004: Joint European Congress of Obesity (ECO) of EASO with 1st IFSO-EC Congress in Prague, Czech Republic
  • 2005: 11th IFSO-World Congress in Maastricht, Netherlands
  • 2006: 2nd IFSO-EC Congress/European Combined Meeting of Bariatric and Plastic Surgery in Lyon, France
  • 2007: 12th IFSO-World Congress in Porto, Portugal
  • 2008: 3rd IFSO-EC Congress in Capri, Italy
  • 2009: 14th IFSO-World Congress in Paris, France
  • 2010: 4th IFSO-EC Congress in Lausanne, Switzerland
  • 2011: European Obesity Medico-Surgical Workshop organized by EASO and IFSO-EC in Munich, Germany
  • 2011: 16th IFSO-World Congress in Hamburg, Germany
  • 2012: 5th IFSO-EC Congress in Barcelona, Spain
  • 2013: European Obesity Medico-Surgical Workshop organized as a satellite event of ECO by EASO and IFSO-EC in Liverpool, United Kingdom
  • 2013: 18th IFSO-World Congress in Istanbul, Turkey
  • 2014: 6th IFSO-EC Congress in Brussels, Belgium
  • 2015: 20st IFSO-World Congress in Vienna, Austria
  • 2016: European Obesity Summit (EOS)/joint event of 7th IFSO-EC Congress and ECO by EASO in Gothenburg, Sweden
  • 2017: 1st IFSO-EC Symposium in Naples, Italy
  • 2017: 22nd IFSO-World Congress in London, United Kingdom
  • 2018: 8th IFSO-EC Congress in Athens, Greece
  • 2019: 2nd IFSO-EC Symposium in Lyon, France
  • 2019: 24th IFSO-World Congress in Madrid, Spain
  • 2020: Virtual IFSO-EC Conference (due to COVID-19)
  • 2021: 9th IFSO-EC Congress in Prague, Czech Republic5
  • 2022: Zoom Forward/joint event of 10th IFSO-EC Congress and Congress of Obesity by EASO in Maastricht, Netherlands9


Thanks to Chief Operating Officer of IFSO Manuela Mazzarella for providing the required data.


  1. International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders-European Chapter. Body members. Accessed 24 Jan 2022. 
  2. Springer. Obesity surgery. Accessed 24 Jan 2022.
  3. Karger Publishers. Obesity facts. Accessed 24 Jan 2022. 
  4. International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders-European Chapter. Archives: documents. Accessed 24 Jan 2022.
  5. International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders-European Chapter. IFSO-EC 2021: Prague, Czech Republic. Accessed 24 Jan 2022.
  6. International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders-European Chapter. Structure. Accessed 18 May 2022. 
  7. International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders-European Chapter. IFSO-EC Congress. Accessed 24 Jan 2022.
  8. International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders-European Chapter. Accessed 18 May 2022.
  9. Zoom Forward 22. ECO IFSO-EC Congress on Obesity Maastricht, 4–7 May 2022. Accessed 24 Jan 2022. 
  10. Di Lorenzo N, Antoniou SA, Batterham RL, et al. Clinical practice guidelines of the European Association for Endoscopic Surgery (EAES) on bariatric surgery: update 2020 endorsed by IFSO-EC, EASO and ESPCOP. Surg Endosc. 2020;34:2332–2358.
  11. Carrano FM, Iossa A, Di Lorenzo N, et al. EAES rapid guideline: systematic review, network meta-analysis, CINeMA and GRADE assessment, and European consensus on bariatric surgery-extension 2022. Surg Endosc. 2022;36(3):1709–1725.
  12. International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders-European Chapter. Video gallery. Accessed 24 Jan 2022. 
  13. Facebook. Young IFSO. Accessed 24 Jan 2022.
  14. Facebook. IFSO. Accessed 24 Jan 2022.
  15. Twitter. IFSO.  

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Category: IFSO Chapter Spotlight, Past Articles

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