International Federation of Societies for Surgery of the Hand

2018 Minutes

International Federation of Societies for Surgery of the Hand
June 19, 2008
Lausanne, Switzerland

The meeting was called to order at 12:00 by President J Urbaniak who asked Secretary-General M Tonkin to take the chair.


James Urbaniak President
Ulrich Mennen President Elect
Michael Tonkin Secretary-General
Zsolt Szabo Secretary-General Elect
Belinda Smith Administrative Secretary
A Olazabal Argentina
R Hicks Australia
W Girsch Austria
A Alam Bangladesh
J Goubau Belgium
H von Schroeder Canada
D Hinzpeter Chile
M Richter Germany
Z Dailiana Greece
R Sabapathy India
R Luchetti Italy
T Mizuseki Japan
GH Baek Korea
TS Ahmad Malaysia
TS Oei Netherlands
A Pinto Portugal
A Georgescu Romania
A Lim Singapore
M Wells South Africa
E MacKenney Spain
E Voegelin Switzerland
T Kaleli Turkey
G Hooper United Kingdom
J De Vecchi Uruguay


Judy Colditz IFSHT President
Lynne Feehan IFSHT President Elect
Roohi Ahmad Malaysia
R Kairy  President, Bangladesh SSH
A Kalam Bangladesh SSH
M Haque Bangladesh SSH

Member Society contacts and addresses

The Secretary-General requested assistance from delegates in contacting some nations who had not updated details of their IFSSH society representative and addresses:

  • Armenia
  • Bulgaria
  • Dominican Republic
  • Indonesia
  • Israel
  • Mexico
  • New Zealand
  • Philippines
  • Portugal
  • Puerto Rico
  • Slovak Republic
  • Thailand


William Cooney Historian
Arlindo Pardini Immediate Past President



Election of new member societies

Bangladesh had fulfilled all criteria necessary to be accepted as an IFSSH member society.

Unanimous decision to accept the application of Bangladesh. The Bangladeshi delegate and three guests were invited to join the Delegates’ meeting.

Confirmation of previous minutes – March 2007, Sydney


  • IFSHT Delegate added to attendance list.
  • Malaysian Delegate name spelling corrected.
  • Societies from Belgium and Singapore had fulfilled their financial commitments
  • minutes corrected.

With these alterations, the minutes of the Delegates’ Meeting - March 11th 2007, Sydney - were approved (Proposed: R Hicks, Seconded: R Sabapathy)

Matters arising from previous minutes

See following items.

President’s Report

The primary responsibility of the President is to preside over the meetings of the Council, but the main obligation is to designate the committee chairs and members. In 1966 the IFSSH founded six committees. Over the past four decades these committees have grown in number (currently 30), and their scope, activity and productivity have been quite variable. Some committees have produced monografts, extensive and compressive reports while others have been relatively inactive. Basically the initial charges of the committee have been to establish the adoption of standards of nomenclature, classification, evaluation and possibly recommend treatment for hand injuries and disease.

I have called upon our past chairman to continue to serve their committee leadership except for one or two changes. I have asked each chairman for recommendations in regard to membership and structure of the committee. We have had a few volunteers and I have added these to the committee.

I suggested individuals to be added to the committees, especially on those committees who have a small membership.

The committee chairmen have been reminded that they are to give a report at the IFSSH Congress every three years. In the past some of these committee reports have been rather broad or general in content. I suggested a more simplified and focused goal with the current committee activities. I have charged each committee to complete one focus project or perhaps just attempt to answer one question about a new or old finding or procedure in their category prior to the Congress in Korea 2010. In an effort to assist them I have given them a suggestion or two about a specific project.

The chairman have also been informed that the IFSSH now has a reliable and functioning website and our goal is to have every committee represented by some type of report on the website for the benefit of hand surgeons worldwide. The committee chairman were asked to respond before this meeting, June 19, 2008 and today I have received reports from only one third of them.

Finally as a “Presidential Project” I have had preliminary meetings with Dr. Baek of Korea, Dr. Soucacos of Greece and Dr. Levin of the USA about the publication of a book entitled “Hand Surgery – Worldwide – International Reconstruction of a Beautiful and Ready Instrument of the Mind.” This text would include representation of all 50 counties of the IFSSH, the ideas to include sections about the culture, history of hand surgery, training, certification, specialists in hand surgery and major contributions by specific countries or individuals in that country. The goal was to have the book completed for the Korean Meeting.

Respectfully submitted,
James R. Urbaniak, M.D.

Secretary-General’s Report

This report complements the minutes of the previous Executive Committee and Delegates’ Council Meeting in Sydney of March 2007 and the agendas for the Lausanne 2008 Executive Committee and Delegates’ Council Meetings.


The Australian Hand Surgery Society hosted a successful congress in Sydney, March 2007 with 1050 attending the surgeons’ conference and 513 attending the therapists’ conference. The meeting was blessed with fine Sydney weather and both the scientific and social components of the combined meeting were well received.

The Korean Society will host the 2010 meeting. Regrettably, this will not be in conjunction with our therapy colleagues. However, the Korean Society for Surgery of the Hand is arranging an impressive congress to which all are encouraged to attend.

October 31 – November 4, 2010
Seoul, Korea

The Indian Society for Surgery of the Hand was successful in its bid to host the 2013 meeting in Delhi. Although the Indian Hand Therapy Society is only recently formed, and will rely on administrative support from the Indian Society for Surgery of the Hand, I have no doubt that with the support of the IFSSH and the IFSHT a very successful combined meeting will be conducted.

March, 2013
New Delhi, India

At the meetings in Lausanne, the question of future congress venues will be discussed with a view to creating a fair and equitable selection process. Of course, a number of factors do need to be considered including the ability of any host society to conduct a large international meeting and the ability of the host therapy society to support the desired intent of combined congresses. If these principles are adhered to, some surgical societies, fully capable of hosting our congress may be excluded if that country has not yet developed a hand therapy society of adequate resources and sophistication to host the therapist component of the congress. However, with goodwill and some compromise, it will be possible to develop a satisfactory process which achieves an optimal selection of host societies and venues.

New Societies

The Bangladesh Society for Surgery of the Hand will be welcomed to our family in Lausanne. We congratulate them and look forward to their contribution. The IFSSH Executive Committee and all member societies encourage those countries who fulfil the criteria for membership of the International Federation to move to join us. They will be most welcome.


With the very significant support of Dr Raja Sabapathy and his Indian colleagues, the IFSSH website is now of a sophisticated nature and is functioning well - www.ifssh.org. All member societies are encouraged to contribute and should send any contributions including local society news, details of national and international meetings and any other relevant information to the Secretary-General – mtonkin@med.usyd.edu.au


Our IFSSH Historian, Bill Cooney from the USA, has regrettably resigned from this position because of commitments within his own country. We are indebted to his contribution since the appointment to this position in 2002. The IFSSH Nominating Committee will put forward a nominee to replace Bill, following our usual constitutional process.


Ms Fran Perkins has stepped down from the position of Administrative Assistant to the Secretariat. All of us owe her a great debt and thank her for her efforts over the preceding years. The Secretariat welcomes Ms Belinda Smith to the position vacated by Fran Perkins.

Scientific Committees

IFSSH President, Jim Urbaniak, is currently conducting a review of the status of the Scientific Committees and will report on this over the three years between the Sydney and Seoul Congresses.

Treasurer’s Report

This is enclosed under a separate heading. However, the Federation funds have increased since the March 2007 report, with a total of funds increasing from $602,381.55 to $683,553.00 (as of April 30th, 2008) in spite of a global economic downturn in the latter part of 2007 and the early part of 2008.

Appropriate utilisation of these funds remains a primary consideration for both the Executive Committee and the individual society members. Currently our funds support activities of the Executive Committee and its Secretariat, provide funding for bursaries by application, assist with registration at IFSSH Congresses for those who are financially disadvantaged, include an honorarium to the Swanson Lecturer, and assist in subsidising the cost of the therapists’ component of our triennial congress. It is one task of the Executive Committee to apply itself to consideration of alternatives for optimal use of IFSSH funds. Member societies are invited, through their delegates, to offer suggestions which can be discussed at the Delegates’ Council Meeting annually.

The Future

The continued development and the success of the IFSSH depends on the success of its triennial congress and its ability to foster and develop hand surgery teaching and services throughout the world. The Swanson Lecture is an important component of recognising those in the hand surgery community who have provided an outstanding contribution to those in our fields. Bursary grants which assist specific projects, specific training schemes and support of attendance at meetings for those who may not otherwise be able to afford such, and assistance with affiliate societies such as the IFSHT are admirable pursuits worthy of our financial support.

Michael Tonkin

Treasurer’s Report

Financial statements were tabled and distributed. These are attached. The IFSSH finances are in a good position, considering the worldwide economic downturn. The Secretary-General reported that the Executive Committee proposed that the capital base should remain untouched with only interest and income (majority being annual dues) available for IFSSH activities, including bursaries and congress registration support, etc. Any other suggestions for optimal use of the funds should be forwarded to the Secretary-General/Treasurer. The aim is to increase the capital funds to $1,000,000 so that adequate earnings from this amount can be distributed to worthwhile projects.

It was noted that some member societies had not fulfilled their payment of annual dues commitment. Previous discussion was held in the Sydney Delegates’ Council Meeting when it was suggested that if outstanding dues are present for three years, that society is unable to vote at the Delegates’ Council meeting. However, articles X-B2 and VIII-A of the Charter required formal alteration if this was to be accepted.

Motion: That if outstanding dues are present for three years, that society is unable to vote at the Delegates’ Council meeting.
Proposed Michael Tonkin, seconded Ulrich Mennen.
Motion carried by unanimous vote and the Charter altered accordingly.

Historian’s Report

William Cooney had informed the Executive Committee of his intention to resign from the position of Historian due to increasing commitments. The Delegates’ Council collectively thanked Dr Cooney for his contribution over many years.

Nominations were called for this position from all Delegates. The Executive Committee will forward nominations to the Nominating Committee.

10th IFSSH Congress – Sydney, 2007

Report from R Hicks tabled and distributed.
In summary:
Registrations: 1846
Surgeons: 870
Trainee surgeons: 178
Therapists: 513
Accompanying persons: 285
IFSSH Sponsored registrations: 20

Surgery Scientific Sessions included

  • 14 IFSSH Scientific Committee Reports
  • 14 Symposia
  • 3 combined Surgery and Therapy Invited Lectures
  • 48 Free Paper Sessions, including 2 combined sessions

Therapy Scientific Sessions included

  • 3 Plenary Session
  • 13 Symposia
  • 11 Workshops, including 3 Sponsored Splinting Workshops
  • 3 Combined Surgery and Therapy Invited Lectures
  • 2 combined Free paper Sessions

Total number of free paper presentations: 593
Total number of symposium presentations: 100
Other invited presentations: 99
Total posters accepted: 410

Special lectures

The IFSSH Swanson Lecture – Professor Goran Lundborg
The Australian Hand Surgery Society Guest Lecture – Dr Jeff Ayton
Sponsorship and Exhibition: 34 companies exhibited, $434,000 raised (124% of sponsorship target)


$149 profit

Social events

Successful Opening Ceremony in which 14 Pioneers were honoured. 
La Traviata at the Opera House
Surgeons’ Banquet at the Sydney Town Hall and Therapists’ Banquet at Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron. 
Congress Party at Luna Park
The accompanying persons programme incorporated sporting events, bushwalking, Sydney harbour cruises and lunches.

Following the report of Dr Hicks, J Urbaniak proposed a word of gratitude and congratulations to the Australian Hand Surgery Society, the Australian Hand Therapy Association and the Organising Committees.

11th IFSSH Congress – Seoul, October 31st-November 4th 2010

Dr GH Baek presented and tabled a report

Report from Organizing Committee for 2010 IFSSH Congress

1. Booth exhibitions for advertising 2010 Seoul Congress

  • 2007 March: 10th IFSSH Congress (Sydney, Australia)
  • 2007 April: 50th Annual meeting of JSSH (Yamagata, Japan)
  • 2007 September: 62nd Annual Meeting of ASSH (Seattle, USA)
  • 2008 February: 7th APFSSH Meeting (Hong Kong, China)
  • 2008 April: 51st Annual Meeting of JSSH (Tsukuba, Japan)
  • 2008 June: Eurohand Congress 2008 (Lausanne, Swiss)
  • Hong Kong, 2008

  • Tsukuba, 2008

  • Sydney, 2007

  • Seattle, 2007

  • Yamagata, 2007

2. First announcement will be delivered to IFSSH members in 2009.
3. For further information, visit our website (www.ifssh2010.com).

Goo Hyun Baek, MD
General Secretary and Program Chair, 11th IFSSH Congress
Representative of KSSH to IFSSH
E-mail: ghbaek@snu.ac.kr

12th IFSSH Congress – New Delhi, 2013

Dr R Sabapathy provided a summary.
Dates confirmed: 4th – 8th March 2013.
Conference venue will be chosen after 2010 (India hosting 2010 Commonwealth Games, therefore locations available after this.)
Dr Sabapathy confirmed that the 2010 Congress would be a combined congress with surgeons and therapists and was confident that the Indian joint congress will be a success.

IFSHT Report

J Colditz/L Feehan
The IFSHT report was tabled and circulated.

After delivery of IFSHT report, J Colditz and L Feehan left the meeting whilst Delegates discussed its content in which the IFSHT requested financial support from the IFSSH at future combined IFSSH/IFSHT congresses.

The Executive Committee recommended to the Delegates’ Council that under the Charter, IFSSH can assist the therapists with bursaries and grants and that the therapists could apply for these via the process outlined on the website. Furthermore, the IFSSH could grant assistance to cover registration costs at congresses, following appropriate application.

The Delegates’ Council confirmed that, where possible, IFSSH triennial congresses would be accompanied by IFSHT congresses. However, it was also recognised that a significant number of IFSSH member societies did not have associated therapy societies. The IFSSH Charter does not allow exclusion of these societies from the bid process and, therefore, the final decision to hold a combined congress could only be confirmed following selection of the host society. In this selection process, consideration will be given to those bids containing a combined programme.

J Colditz and L Feehan returned to the meeting and were informed of the above.


No report.

FESSH Report

Tabled by Dr M Garcia-Elias and distributed. Dr Szabo reported that the European Diploma of Hand Surgery is now open to IFSSH members. He congratulated Dr Roohi Ahmad from Malaysia who was placed first in the examination. Applications are encouraged from IFSSH members. This will be promoted on the IFSSH website.

South American Federation Report

Dr J de Vecchi introduced the South American Federation report by asking Dr A Olazabal (Argentina) to submit information regarding a bid to host the 2016 IFSSH triennial congress in Buenos Aires.

Dr de Vecchi then indicated that the South American Federation consisted of six countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Uruguay, Venezuela). A biannual Federation meeting is held, the last in Argentina in 2007.

Dr de Vecchi outlined the financial difficulties affecting member societies of the South American Federation, indicating that it was becoming more difficult for individuals to attend international meetings. He suggested that the IFSSH consider a subsidy for participants from low income countries (registration fees, rebates for travel, etc) and makes certain that the list of available accommodation includes low/mid cost options.

Dr de Vecchi also requested that the Council consider a modification of the annual IFSSH fee structure such that lower income countries pay a lower fee.

In discussion, the following points were made:

  • A Pinto (Portugal) informed the Council that a Latino meeting was held in Portugal in March and the registration fee structure included lower fees for Argentines/Brazilians to promote attendance and that this was successful.
  • P Amadio (AAHS) agreed that it was appropriate to discuss the rate of annual dues and meeting registration fees for underdeveloped countries. He also confirmed the need for consideration of lower cost options (accommodation, etc) within congress cities.
  • U Mennen (South Africa) considered that the cost of simple commodities in each country could be used as a basis for a disparate registration fee structure and annual dues structure.
  • R Sabapathy (India) informed the Council that the international monetary fund divides countries into high income/low income countries and considered that this could be used as an assessment basis.

The Secretary-General requested that delegates make suggestions to the Executive Committee throughout the next year. He would provide a summary to be considered at the next Council meeting in Poland, 2009.

La Federacion de Mano Report

Dr P Amadio reported that the North American Federation (which includes AAHS, ASSH and the societies of Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Guatemala) had its first meeting in Puerto Rico in 2007. A one day session will be associated with the Chicago ASSH meeting, 2008. The aim is to develop this Federation and to hold separate meetings.

Educational Bursary

President J Urbaniak and the Executive Committee encouraged all member societies to consider applications for educational bursaries/grants. Full details are available on the website.

M Tonkin indicated that the therapists will also be encouraged to apply for these bursaries as well as congress registration assistance (see IFSHT report).

IFSSH website

Refer to Secretary-General’s report

IFSSH newsletter

Regular IFSSH Newsletters are placed on the website and published in the Journal of Hand Surgery (American), Journal of Hand Surgery (European) and the Asia-Pacific journal, Hand Surgery. The IFSSH Executive and Delegates’ Council appreciate the assistance provided by these journals.

All delegates are encouraged to inform the Secretary-General of matters they would like to see placed in the newsletter.

Correspondence (Incoming)

Kienbocks Disease Meeting (Vienna, 14-15 May 2010) – Dr Garcia-Elias requested IFSSH support for this meeting. The details will be placed on the website.

The International Confederation for Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery (IPRAS): Alfred Berger has finished his term as the IFSSH representative to IPRAS. That body has accepted the nomination of Dr Francisco del Pino (Spain) as replacement to this position.

Delegate of the Turkish society: Dr T Kaleli informed the IFSSH of the European Hand Trauma Committee which will meet in Turkey, June 2009. See website for details

Further Business

Selection of Congress hosts and venues:
At previous Council meetings, this matter has been discussed extensively with the suggestion that the host bid should come from either three or four geographic regions in rotation. Delegates have indicated support for this notion.

This matter was discussed extensively within the Executive Committee meeting. Support was present for the notion in principle. However, a number of points were raised for consideration by the Delegates’ Council:

  • It was considered that the principle of the IFSSH Delegates’ Council retaining the right to select the host and venue should be retained, rather than this right passing to regional bodies (FESSH, APFSSH, North American and Caribbean Federation (La Federacion de Mano), South American Federation).
  • The quality of any individual bid should be assessed by the Delegates’ Council.
  • Each regional body listed above contains different numbers of IFSSH member societies. If the rotational policy was accepted, a member society in one geographic region could host two congresses prior to that of another geographic region hosting its first meeting.
  • The ability of a host country to conduct a combined IFSSH/IFSHT Congress should be taken into consideration.

Discussion followed

P Amadio (AAHS) pointed out that the number of members in each society should be considered as well as the numbers of societies in each geographic region. The Executive agreed that this should be a factor.

U Mennen (South Africa) suggested that the Delegates’ Council could be guided by location and M Tonkin confirmed that the Executive Committee could provide guidance and historical information.

J Goubau (Belgium) was concerned that the Executive Committee should not act to cull bids before the Delegates choose. The President agreed that the Executive Committee can guide but not manipulate the bid process.

G Hooper (UK) requested clarification that the 2016 bid was still open and that a geographic region had not been pre-selected. The Executive Committee reassured him that the bid was still open and that the Delegates’ Council would need to make the decision after receiving the bids.

TS Ahmad (Malaysia) indicated that geographic rotation was effective within the Asia Pacific region, but that this was on a smaller member nation base.

J de Vecchi (Uruguay) expressed a concern about the number of delegates present when voting for congresses (e.g. very few South Americans will attend India/Korea to be voting on congress location). Secretary-General’s note: The IFSSH Charter (Article IX – Voting procedures) allows a vote by proxy for the transaction of business – at the discretion of the President.

In conclusion, the Secretary-General summarised that following principles which should be considered when the Delegates’ Council selected the host and venue of IFSSH Congresses:

  • A fair geographic rotation of host countries;
  • The ability of any society to successfully host the congress;
  • The ability to conduct a combined IFSSH/IFSHT congress, without this being an absolute pre-requisite;
  • The quality of the bid according to congress bid guidelines;
  • The final decision to be made by a vote at the Delegates’ Council Meeting.

All delegates were asked to inform the Secretary-General of suggestions regarding guidelines for selection of host and venue which could be considered and discussed, and perhaps formalised, at the next meeting. The Secretary-General will prepare a report following receipt of member society recommendations.

Pioneers in Hand Surgery

President J Urbaniak reminded all societies of the process for nominations for elevation to the position of Pioneers in Hand Surgery. Society delegates should contact the Secretary-General for further details.

Swanson Lecture

The Secretary-General noted that the Swanson Lecturer is a very high honour. The Executive Committee has determined that the selected lecturer will receive US$5,000 as an honorarium from the IFSSH. The host society will grant gratis registration at the IFSSH Congress and will be responsible for accommodation costs during the congress.

Next meeting of the Delegates’ Council

FESSH meeting, 3-6 June 2009 – Poznan, Poland

Meeting closed at 14.00.

Respectfully submitted,
Michael Tonkin

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