International Federation of Societies for Surgery of the Hand


Amended 15th June 2005, Göteborg, Sweden
Amended 4th June 2009, Poznan, Poland

  • A

    This main scientific event of the IFSSH will be celebrated every three years in a member society country that is in good standing with the IFSSH including payment of their annual dues.

  • B

    The society hosting the event will be selected from applications six years before at the congress council meeting. If no country fulfills the requirements this will be postponed to the next council meeting. If, after this, there is no decision the Executive Committee will decide.

  • C

    The societies which are applicants must submit a formal petition to the Secretary General at least three months ahead of the Council meeting. The same documentation should be sent to each member country delegate and IFSHT representative for evaluation at least three months before the Council Meeting.


1. Objectives

This should include what you aim to achieve by hosting the event, choice of location, dates and proposed alternatives. The candidates must send written confirmation of full knowledge of the IFSSH by-laws, the general and specific guidelines concerning the running of the Congress and agree to abide by these.

2. Finances

Will submit a preliminary budget in US dollars which provides a breakdown of

  • Fixed Costs
  • Variable Costs
  • Expected Congress Income
  • Expected Surplus to be Shared with the IFSSH

3. Fund Raising and Financial Support

Describe how you intend to raise funds to cover the expenses of the event. List potential sponsors from industry, private sector and/or others.
Will you appeal to national, government and official authorities?

4. Organizational Structure of the Congress

Describe the format you foresee for the Congress including committees for venue, social events, publications, satellite meetings, public relations, scientific program, transport, accommodations at different levels according to the purchasing power of our membership and guests.

5. Congress Centre Facilities

How many delegates would you expect to attend?
Provide details for meeting facilities, variety of rooms available, conference and lecture halls, exhibition halls, office space, office space for the Executive Committee of the IFSSH to meet and complete routine business affairs of the event.

6. Congress Services Operation

Describe the range of services you will offer to the participants:

  • Airport welcome and information desk.
  • Hotel welcome desk and service information.
  • Transportation information.
  • Legal advice.
  • Visa and passport assistance to all IFSSH Societies.
  • Health Services.
  • Souvenirs.

7. Administrative Services

Explain how the following services will be provided

  • Congress registration.
  • Travel refunds.
  • Publication handling and processing.
  • Communications between organizers, congress administrative staff and the Executive Committee of the IFSSH.
  • On site inspection for the President and/or Secretary General one year and six months before the Congress.

8. Logistics of the Congress

Provide information on the availability of the following

  • Accommodations: Hotels with a wide variety of reasonable prices including less expensive student lodgings, etc.
  • Courtesy registration and accommodations for President and Secretary General of the IFSSH and their wives.
  • Catering, commercial shops, business and security.

9. Social/Leisure Activities

Provide information on the following

  • How to keep registrants, guests and allied health professionals happy.
  • Cultural activities and events.
  • Sightseeing and excursions possibilities.
  • Recreational activities.
  • Handcraft contests and art exhibits related to the Hand.

10. Professional Assistance

List the organizations you will contact to assist in setting up the congress. Promotional groups for exhibitions, tour operators.
Professional congress organizers.
Advertising companies.
Help on customs procedures for exhibitors and registrants.
Marketing companies.
Public relations companies for media coverage before and during the congress. (National and International)

11. Supporting Contracts

List the names and details of the national agencies, societies, associations, universities and government officials you will be contacting to assist you in the organization of the congress. List the health professionals, public figures, celebrities and lay persons involved in Hand Surgery you will invite to participate in the sessions, write publications and assist with the organization of the sessions.

12. Experience

List the events that you society has previously organized including dates, attendance and budget involved.

13. Contract between the IFSSH and the Organizing Hand Society

The IFSSH will provide if requested an interest free loan between $50,000 and $100,000 US to get a congress started. This will be sent by certified mail thirty days after all contracts are formalized and signed.


14. Co-operation with the IFSHT

Since hand therapy is an integral part of hand surgery, a detailed account should be given on how the IFSHT will be accommodated and integrated during the Congress. The IFSHT will rely heavily on an active local Hand Therapy Society, which has been affiliated to the IFSHT. The Executive of the IFSHT should submit a letter of support that their local national society will be able and willing to host an IFSHT Congress.


The local Hand Society must be able to sign a contract accepting the financial responsibility in case of a loss. The local Hand Society will share with the IFSSH 50% of the profits. The Chairman of the Organizing Committee will send to the President or Secretary General of the IFSSH, not later than six months after the completion of the Congress a full summary of the event in English and 50% of the profits. This will be presented at the next Council Meeting.

Selection of IFSSH congress venue and host

1. IFSSH Member Societies will be divided into three geographic regions

  • Asia / Oceania
  • Europe
  • The Americas

2. Each geographic region will be “weighted” according to (a) the number of societies and (b) the number of individual members within each of the respective regions – see Table 2.

3. A geographic rotation system will be established, based on the “weight” of each region – see Table 3.

4. Member societies of one specific geographic region will be invited to apply for hosting rights for the IFSSH Congress according to the geographic rotation system.

5. Submissions will be invited from the next geographic region on the rotation list if there are no appropriate bids from the designated geographic region societies.

6. No single member society will host a second Congress if there is a bid from a society which has not hosted a Congress. Some allowance is necessary to recognise that the societies of the United States make up about four-fifths of the member numbers within the geographic region of the Americas.

In implementing the above, the following guidelines must be taken into consideration

  • The host country bid must comply with IFSSH guidelines and the bid must remain a competitive process.
  • The Executive Committee and the Delegates’ Council must consider whether any particular bid is of reliable quality and whether the host country
  • can fulfil its responsibilities.
  • The ability to conduct a combined IFSSH/IFSHT Congress is preferred but is not an absolute pre-requisite.
  • The principle of “best bid should win” remains the overriding principle of selection.
  • The final decision is that of a majority of the IFSSH Delegates’ Council.


1. The site of the event will be selected six years before at the Congress Council Meeting. If none of the countries fulfill the requirements this will be postponed for the next Council Meeting. After this second attempt the Executive Committee will decide the place of the next Congress.

2. The countries that are applying must submit a formal written petition to the Secretary General at least three months ahead of the Council Meeting. This will include a scientific program, social program, report of physical structure, hotels, conference rooms, financial structure, government, private financial support and being able to sign a contract accepting the financial responsibility in case of a loss.

3. The organization of the Congress will be the responsibility of the local hand society that requests the congress.

4. The local hand society will elect the Organizing Committee including Chairman, Secretary and members as well as representative(s) of the IFSHT.

5. The organizing team must work together and in close contact with the President and Secretary General of the IFSSH on the general outline of the congress.

6. Once the country accepts to be the host of the Congress the chairman must send a written report to the Secretary General every six months. The report will be circulated among the Executive Committee.

7. Within twelve months of the Congress at least the President and/or the Secretary General will have an on-site inspection and detailed briefing of the congress. The housing and local expenses will be paid by the local society.

8. The president, Secretary General of the IFSSH and their wives are special guests of the Congress and their registration is waived. As a courtesy gesture, the registration fees of the other Executive members are waived (Past-President, President-Elect, Secretary General-Elect and Historian).

9. The President, Secretary General and Administrator of the IFSSH will have courtesy accommodations at the Congress hotel and will be provided with rooms for their Administration and Committee Meetings, and for the Executive and Council Meetings. The meal expenses for the Executive and Council meeting will be paid by the IFSSH.

10. Active members will pay a lower registration fee than non-members and special registration fees for residents and paramedical professionals will be provided.

11. Members making scientific presentations must have paid the membership and registration dues. Special courtesy invitations can be given to honorary members or surgeons with critical financial burden.

12. The soliciting Society must understand and accept in full the general and specific modifications to Guidelines approved by the IFSSH Council on 4 June 2009, Poznan, Poland

  • James Urbaniak
    President, IFSSH
  • Michael Tonkin
    Secretary-General, IFSSH


1. Philosophy

The IFSSH supports the concept of Combined Triennial Congresses, but accepts that the IFSHT is an independent body which will determine whether a combined congress is feasible. Both groups are cognisant of the advantages and prefer to work together. However, the IFSSH must, by Charter, distribute the venues of triennial congresses widely throughout its constituent societies. If there is no local therapy society capable of conducting a meeting, then it may be more appropriate for the IFSHT to conduct their meeting independently. This is a matter for the IFSHT.

2. Principles

  • The IFSSH wishes to retain the integrity of the current contract between the IFSSH and the IFSSH Host Society.
  • Those IFSSH Societies bidding to host a congress are encouraged to include the local therapy society. If that is feasible, the local therapy society should conduct a conversation with the IFSHT before the IFSSH Society submits a bid.
  • If a combined congress is proposed, an agreement will be made between the IFSSH Host Society and the local therapy society which, in turn, will enter into an agreement with the IFSHT.
  • The IFSHT may not enter into a contract with the IFSSH Host Society which is in conflict with the IFSSH/IFSSH Host Society contract.

Notes to above

It should be noted that the IFSSH Host Society takes responsibility for the IFSSH congress organisation, with IFSSH oversight. However, the IFSSH accepts that this may not always be practical for the IFSHT component of the congress in which the IFSHT may be the responsible body.

The IFSSH does not seek financial profit from the congress. Rather, the aim is to encourage all society members to attend an educational congress and to create the financial circumstances which will allow as many to attend as possible.

It is understood that the IFSHT may have the need to obtain funds from the triennial congress. However, this is in conflict with IFSSH aims. Therefore, as previously agreed, an additional registration amount may be added to the IFSHT registration figure to allow for this income. This is not an amount that is consequent upon the delivery of a congress profit. It is consequent upon an additional therapist registration fee beyond that which is necessary to pay for the IFSHT component of the congress.

The current circumstances in which the IFSSH and the IFSSH Host Society sign a contract will be retained. In this instance, the IFSSH Host Society is wholly responsible for a financial loss. Any financial profit (unintended) is divided equally between the IFSSH and the IFSSH Host Society. In particular circumstances in which an unexpected profit is significant, conversations may be conducted with the IFSHT and the host therapy society regarding the direction of these funds. However, this is not to be a part of any formal contract. The IFSSH simply undertakes to assist its therapy colleagues financially when appropriate.

Funding for IFSHT executive and administrative members (registration fees and, where appropriate, accommodation costs) should be incorporated into the IFSHT registration fees in the same manner as these are incorporated into IFSSH registration fees.

It would be appropriate that consideration be given to a formal review of finances and scientific and social programme advantages/disadvantages of a combined congress for IFSSH and IFSHT, with an attempt to separate the costs for each group. This would provide a sound basis for future negotiations, should there be a reality or a perception of unfairness.

The IFSSH will continue to provide financial support for IFSHT educational projects through appropriate applications to the IFSSH Committee for Educational Sponsorship. Consideration can be given to increasing this support according to the availability of funds.

ADDENDUM: IFSSH Triennial Congress Rotation

At the 2016 Delegates’ Council Meeting, the IFSSH ExCo advised of some difficulties with the congress host rotation schedule, due to an over-direction of successive congresses to the Asia-Pacific region (Australia in 2007, Korea in 2010, India in 2013). This biased the geographic balance of congresses and the IFSSH ExCo has worked for a number of years on a formula to provide fair and even distribution of the international congresses. This includes the number of societies within each region, as well as the membership numbers within each of those societies. Competition to host a congress is increasing, and more societies may be interested as the membership numbers continue to grow.

To avoid any further confusion over the long-term schedule, the IFSSH ExCo announced the regional rotation until 2037, as follows

  • 2013 - Asia (Delhi, India)
  • 2016 - Americas (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
  • 2019 - Europe (Berlin, Germany)
  • 2022 - Europe (subsequently awarded to London, United Kingdom)
  • 2025 - Americas
  • 2028 - Asia
  • 2031 - Europe
  • 2034 - Asia
  • 2037 - Europe

The ExCo reported that the circumstance of two successive European congresses (2019 and 2022) is not optimal and will not be repeated. The ExCo will discuss the impact of these meetings with the congress hosts and FESSH to ensure all outcomes are considered.

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