Timing is Everything

| September 1, 2022

Richard M. Peterson, MD, MPH, FACS, FASMBS, is the Co-clinical Editor of Bariatric Times; Professor of Surgery, UT Health San Antonio; Chief, Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery UT Health San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas

Dear Colleagues,

One of my favorite country songs is “Timing is Everything” by Garrett Hedlund. 

“It can happen so fast, or a little bit late, timing is everything.” I had the pleasure of attending the International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders (IFSO) annual meeting in Miami, Florida, this past week. It was a meeting long in the works, sidelined by the COVID-19 pandemic on multiple occasions. The meeting showcased the global collaboration needed to fight the disease of obesity, which we all are working to improve. The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) was given its own track as well at the meeting, allowing the North American chapter of IFSO an opportunity to showcase its talents. 

Congress Presidents Drs. Natan Zundel and Raul Rosenthal led the meeting to its great success. Most sessions were packed to the brim, and there were more sessions to attend than one person could get to (which is a nice problem to have). In both the IFSO and ASMBS tracks there were the “Great Debates” sessions. Both were incredibly popular, and the debates were very educational and incredibly entertaining. In addition, there were many video and abstract sessions throughout the meeting. It comes as no surprise that the video sessions were very well attended. I had the honor of moderating one of the video abstract sessions, along with Dr. Osama Hamed of Jordan. While there were some senior surgeons who presented, I was really impressed with the surgical residents from around the world that presented their videos. There was a lot of discussion and learning within the session. 

If nothing else, the fact that members from around the world came to attend this meeting highlights the true global nature of the disease of obesity. Essentially no country is exempt. And it is true that on some issues, here in the United States (US) and globally, we haven’t always seen eye to eye. But there was so much more collaboration, discussion, and alignment at this meeting than in the past. Of course, the most contentious opinions in the past surrounded the one anastomosis gastric bypass (OAGB). But now the ASMBS has endorsed the procedure, and the collaboration on this topic alone was a major theme throughout the meeting. Had the meeting happened at its original time in 2020, that would not have been the case. I’m not saying that there aren’t still two camps on this issue and about this surgery, but more people have found that common ground. So while the pandemic has disrupted so much of our lives over the last two years, there have been some silver linings. The widespread use of telemedicine/telehealth has been amazing. Virtual options for meetings, both those in our businesses, practices, institutions, or organizations, and those that have allowed us to continue our learning when in-person meetings weren’t an option. But in some cases, it just provided time. And in the case of the OAGB and alignment of the ASMBS and IFSO at this meeting, timing was everything.

Sincerely,

Rich Peterson, MD, MPH, FACS, FASMBS

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