The 19th World Congress of International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity & Metabolic Disorders

| April 24, 2014 | 0 Comments

This column is dedicated to providing information on the medical management of obesity, which includes diet, exercise, behavioral change, and medication.

Column Editors: Craig Primack, MD, FAAP, Medical Bariatrician/Certified Medical Obesity Specialist/Co-Medical Director, Scottsdale Weight Loss Center PLLC, Scottsdale, Arizona, and Wendy Scinta, MD, MS, FAAFP, Medical Director, Medical Weight Loss of NY, BOUNCE Program for Childhood Obesity, Fayetteville, New York; Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine, Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, New York.

This month’s column

Spotlight on the 2014 IFSO Congress, President Dr. Michel Gagner, and his hometown Montréal, Québec, Canada

Bariatric Times. 2014;11(4):22–23.

The 19th World Congress of International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity & Metabolic Disorders (IFSO 2014) will be taking place at the Palais des Congrès de Montréal in Montréal, Québec, Canada August 26 to 30, 2014. For more information, visit

Bariatric Times talked with Congress President Dr. Michel Gagner on what attendees can look forward to during the meeting and his suggestions on exploring his birthplace and home, Montréal, Québec, Canada.

IFSO 2014: The Highlights
This will be the first time that the World Congress will be held in Canada and will also be the first time ince 2010 that it will be held in North America. IFSO 2014 is unique in that, in addition to the normal congress scientific program, four other meetings will occur. They are as follows:

1. The Fifth Annual International Consensus for Sleeve Gastrectomy.
ICSG-5 will take place as a two-day post-Graduate course just prior to the IFSO 2014 World Congress in Montréal QC, Canada, running August 26 to 27, 2014. The purpose of the Sleeve Conference is to bring together over 300 of the world’s bestknown surgeons in the field of bariatric surgery to discuss the most current studies and demonstrate the latest techniques in laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy. The conference will include one full day of live surgeries (24 from all over the world) followed by a day of oral presentations and debates, as well as panel discussions. For more information, visit

So far, nine postgraduate courses are offered on the following topics: bariatric endoscopy, metabolic, single anastomosis bypass, gastric plication, robotics, duodenal switch, and allied health. The American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) is also listed as the North American Chapter of IFSO 2014.

Another exciting feature of the world congress is live surgery sessions. We have 26 more live surgeries (50 total) scheduled to take place later in the meeting.

2. The Canadian Association of Bariatric Physicians and Surgeons.
CABPS represents Canadian specialists interested in the treatment of obesity and severe obesity for the purposes of professional development and coordination and promotion of common goals. CABPS will hold their annual meeting in conjunction with IFSO 2014. Visit for more information on the meeting and the association’s partnership with IFSO.

3. International Bariatric Club.
IBC is a non-profit, international organization of bariatric surgeons and educators. The IBC’s mission is to promote and exchange knowledge, ideas, and experience related to the preoperative, intraoperative, and post-operative care of the bariatric patient with bariatric professionals throughout the world. The 10th IBC Symposium will take place during IFSO 2014 at the Palais des Congrès, on Wednesday, August 27th, 2014. Visit for more information.

4. The Canadian Obesity Network-Réseau canadien en obésité.
CON-RCO acts as a catalyst for addressing obesity in Canada and to foster knowledge translation, capacity building, and partnerships among stakeholders so that researchers, health professionals, policy makers, industry and other stakeholders may develop effective solutions to prevent and treat obesity. CON-RCO is a partner of the IFSO 2014 meeting and invites all of its members to attend. Visit for more information.

Exploring Montréal
Montréal was founded in 1642. It is rich with history and, according to Mercer Report, is #4 for quality of living city rankings in North and South America combined (it is #23 globally). In fact, Canadian cities in Canada, Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto, respectively, hold the first three spots in the ranking.

Dr. Gagner can attest to quality of life in his home city. He says that in nice weather, people are walking, biking, and enjoying the outdoors. In colder temperatures, natives and tourists a like take part in skiing and other winter sports. Tourists of Montréal have a wide range of options and can choose activities based on their interest. Dr. Gagner recommends visiting Old Montréal (Vieux-Montréal); Montréal Museum of Fine Arts; Montréal Botanical Gardens; the biodome, insectarium, and planetarium; the National Circus School, a headquarters for Cirque du Soleil; the symphony orchestra; Parc du Mont-Royal; and Olympic Park. He also suggests taking a jet boat ride on the St-Lawrence river. Visit

Interesting facts.
• Montréal hosts the most international medical meetings in North America.
• Montréal has its own “Central Park,” a mountain built by the same designer as the New York landmark,
Frederick Law Olmsted.
• Montréal boasts more restaurants per capita than New York City.
• Montréal hosts major events such as the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival, International Jazz Festival, Montréal Formula 1 Grand Prix, and Feux Loto-Québec, a fireworks competition.

Nearby sites.
• Québec City, a world heritage site by Unesco—a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Montréal.
• Ottawa, capital city of Canada—a two-hour drive from Montréal.
• Niagara Falls—a five-hour drive from Montréal.

Dr. Ganger And His History With The City
Dr. Michel Gagner was born in Montréal in 1960. His family emigrated from France to Canada and was a art of the French colonization of Montréal since 1643. Gagner obtained his MD from the Faculte de edecine de l’Universite de Sherbrooke in Canada in 1982. He did his surgical training at McGill University n Montreal from 1982 to 1988. After two fellowships in Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery (HPB) urgery, he became Assistant Professor of Surgery at Hotel-Dieu Hospital in 1990. He left the University of Montreal in 1995 to work at the Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, and also practice in New York, New York at Mount Sinai and Cornell and Chief of Surgery in Miami. Dr. Gagner made the decision to return to his hometown in 2010 where he is a senior consultant at the Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur and founded Clinique Michel Gagner M.D. Inc. and World Without Obesity (WWO), a non-profit organization for education, research, and care in poor areas.

Sacre Coeur Hospital (University of Montreal)
The bariatric team, whom have been doing laparoscopic bariatric surgery since the late 1990s, are currently the busiest team in the city of Montreal, performing more than 600 cases annually. Eighty-eight percent of surgeries performed are sleeve gastrectomies, 10 percent, gastric bypasses, and the rest duodenal switches and, rarely, banding cases. With an experience of nearly 1,500 sleeve gastrectomies, most of them have been done as an outpatient procedure since 2002.

The Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal is one of the largest teaching hospitals affiliated with the Université de Montréal. On June 1898, the day of the Feast of the Sacred Heart, a group of women founded the hospital to care for the “incurables.” The first building was destroyed by fire in 1923, and in 1926, a new building was constructed, focused on the treatment of tuberculosis. In 1931, Édouard Samson founded the orthopedics department, which eventually became the largest trainer of orthopaedic surgeons in Québec. Recently, it has been known for its Traumatology unit created in 1976 by Henri Atlas, which covers the prestigious annual Formula One World Championship Limited, and for it’s robotic surgery unit in 2003, founded by Ronald Denis.

The most illustrious surgeon has been Dr Norman Bethune, who was chief of thoracic surgery in 1933, who
used to do his surgical rounds in sandals! In 1936, he volunteered as a surgeon during the Spanish Civil War against the troupes of Franco, creating a transfusion unit to save lives of soldiers from the Republican army.

He went to China afterwards, and treated soldiers from the Communist army who fought the Japanese invasion. At 49 years old, he died of sepsis from a cut during brain abscess drainage from a soldier. Known personally to Mao Tse-Tung, he honoured him in a widely published eulogy, and became one of the most revered people in China.

Recognized for his heroic actions, he was buried near the Norman Bethune International Peace Hospital in China. At the Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur, a medical library has been named after him, and at the Place Norman-Bethune, a public square downtown, his statue stands, a gift to the city of Montréal, which hosts the most visitors from the People’s Republic of China.

Funding: No funding was provided.

Disclosures: The author reports no conflicts of interest relevant to the content of this article.


Category: Past Articles, Symposium Preview

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