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Canadian Plastic And Reconstructive Surgery Rocks Vancouver!

It was a special time for Canadian Plastic Surgery. The Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons “hosted the world” in Vancouver at the 16th Congress of the International Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons – IPRAS 2011 Vancouver. Canada played host for this quad annual - now biannual event only once before, almost 30 years ago in Montreal.

Getting the bid was a story in itself, beginning over seven years ago at a remote meeting in El Salvador, where the ground work of collaboration between Canada, Latin America and India was laid. It all came to fruition with ratification by the main body of IPRAS in 2007 in Berlin. Congresses would be held in Delhi 2009, Vancouver 2011, and Santiago 2013.

IPRAS Presenters (From left to right) Ron Zuker, Isaac Harvey, Howard Clarke, M. Bezuhly, Greg Borschel, Adel Fattah

IPRAS Presenters (From left to right) Ron Zuker, Isaac Harvey, Howard Clarke, M. Bezuhly, Greg Borschel, Adel Fattah

Now that we had the bid, the work of planning the Congress began with the Canadian Society financial backing. It would be four and a half days of instructional courses, invited keynote lectures, directed panels and free papers in six locations from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Only the plenary session each day, 8:00 – 10:00, was a standalone. For this Congress, unlike others in the past, there would be no additional charges for any of the dozens of instructional courses. Everything was included in the reasonable registration fee. This could even be reduced for those attendees from less fortunate areas that were not able to pay the full amount. All aspects of the specialty, including burn surgery, reconstructive surgery, hand surgery, microsurgery, aesthetic surgery, and transplantation were addressed by clinical and research experts from around the world. It was a tour de force never seen before in our specialty. Peter Neligan orchestrated an amazing scientific program. A special highlight was The Bethune Humanitarian Plenary Session. Ron Zuker led off outlining the life of Norman Bethune, how his Canadian roots fashioned his remarkable national and international career, and outlining how he came to be the most famous and most revered Canadian worldwide. Ron outlined what he means to Canada and how he is remembered. This was followed by The Story of Bethune from the Chinese perspective. R.H. Zhang discussed what Bethune’s humanitarian work meant to the Chinese during the formative years of the revolution. Humanitarian work is a common thread of Plastic Surgery throughout the world. This session then outlined the work of thousands of surgeons worldwide, who volunteer their time and expertise to help those unable to receive basic reconstructive procedures otherwise. Bill Magee spoke of cleft lip and palate work; Constance Newhann-Lorenz spoke of “Women for Women Burn Reconstruction” for unfortunate women burn victims, and Stephen Sullivan spoke of humanitarian reconstructive efforts in Haiti. It was a moving and compelling session that dramatized what significant work can be done by dedicated reconstructive surgeons.

Social events, coordinated by local host chair Richard Warren, were as well orchestrated as the scientific component. The opening ceremonies showcased our remarkable country, complete with real Mounties in their well recognized red uniforms.

IPRAS attendees

A Social Success as Well (From Left to right) Back Row: Stuart Bade, Michael Klebuc, Chris Forrest, Greg Borschel Front Row: Natasha Bade, Jonathan Wheeler, Brooke French, Adel Fattah, Jonathan Burge

“Oh, Canada!” was sung by opera star Mark Donnelly, just like at the Canucks games. The reception that followed featured Canadian foods from across this land. The closing gala was just as spectacular with Vancouver Harbor and the northern mountains as backdrop. The weather cooperated (albeit briefly) for the attendees to experience the beauty of Vancouver. They were also introduced to Canadian hospitality at its best.

The Organizing Committee worked hard to bring the meeting to Canada, to set it up and finally to carry it off. For the 1800 registrants, it was an opportunity to experience the world (literally) of plastic surgery.

Mingling with the experts was commonplace and activities directed at resident/fellow participation were encouraged. There was the amazing race, in which trainees were put on teams and raced through checkpoints in Vancouver, the resident paper session - complete with awards, and the resident pub night out, which many of us attended, as well. What a great way to meet fellow trainees from around the world. Rumor has it that there may be a serious wedding relationship as fallout from the pub night. Special credit is due to Don Lalonde of Saint John, New Brunswick, and Karyn Wagner of Montreal, our Executive Director. Financial issues are always a concern, but thanks to Gordon Wilkes these all worked out to our advantage. He also put together a superb exhibit hall with exhibitors displaying their products for all to see. Of course, it could not have happened without the support of the Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons and Plastic Surgeons across the country. The University of Toronto’s Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery led the charge of academic institutions. Our Chairman, Dimitri Anastakis, Gordon reported the following remarkable statistics:

“At last week’s IPRAS 2011 meeting in Vancouver, over 400 members of the CSPS participated and contributed to the meeting’s success.

The University of Toronto was well represented at IPRAS and I would like to thank all 22 faculty, 12 residents and 14 past and present fellows who contributed to the meeting’s success. Our faculty, residents and fellows gave 41 podium presentations, chaired 15 podium and 2 plenary sessions, acted as 4 invited panelists, gave 6 masters classes, prepared 3 posters and delivered 1 keynote lecture. The quality of the presentations was top-notch.

Congratulations again to all. A special thanks to Ron Zuker and Peter Neligan for organizing such an excellent and successful meeting. Our division continues to make significant contributions to the advancement of plastic and reconstructive surgery at an international level.” We can be proud of what this Division accomplished at IPRAS 2011 Vancouver. We have achieved a new level of capability with worldwide recognition as a centre of clinical expertise, scientific ingenuity and research. It will provide a firm foundation for the exciting years of reconstructive surgery that lie ahead.

Ronald M. Zuker
Chair, IPRAS 2011 Vancouver
Chair International Relations Committee
University of Toronto

On behalf of the entire organizing committee:

Jean Paul Bosse
Honorary Chair
IPRAS 2011
University of Montreal

Donald Lalonde
Chair, Organizing Committee
IPRAS 2011
Dalhousie University

Gordon Wilkes
Chair, Finance
IPRAS 2011 Vancouver
University of Alberta

Peter Neligan
Chair, Scientific
Program Committee
IPRAS 2011 Vancouver
University of Washington

Richard Warren
Local Arrangements
University of British Columbia

Karyn Wagner
Executive Director
Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons

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