A few years after the end of the Second World War, concretely in London in 1951, a internationally-attended meeting was held where the first proposition of the formation of an International Society of Plastic Surgery was discussed. The idea blossomed, thanks to the efforts of the newborn Swedish Association of Plastic Surgery and Tord Skoog, the Confederation's first General Secretary, co-organizer of the first international meeting in Uppsala in 1955. At this inaugural meeting prominent Surgeons of the like of Gillies, McIndoe, Barrett-Brown, Webster, Dufourmentel, Burian and many others, were together to share their knowledge with those who were to become eminent themselves.
From then on the Confederation has never looked back. Quadrennial Congresses have been held in the four corners of the world, and nine Plastic Surgeons have been elected to the post of General Secretary since 1955, dedicating their time, effort and most of all their enthusiasm to join together the members of the ever-growing national societies of Plastic Surgery, in an effort to fulfill the Confederation's original goal: 'to promote plastic surgery both scientifically and clinically, to further education and encourage friendship between physicians in all countries'.
Stockholm, 1955; London, 1959; Washington, 1963; Rome, 1967; Melbourne,1971; Paris, 1975; Rio de Janiero, 1979; Montreal, 1983; New Delhi, 1987; Madrid, 1992; Yokohama, 1995; San Francisco, 1999; Sydney, 2003; Berlin, 2007.
Only 39 countries were represented at the first congress in 1955 (some societies, like the Swedish, with only 8 members) - however almost 90 National Societies were present at the last Quadrennial congress held in San Francisco in 1999. The Confederation has 5 Sections, the European, Asian-Pacific, Ibero-latinamerican, the PanArab, and the African Section. The Section congresses, also held every 4 years in between the IPRAS Quadrennial Congress, allow members to attend major international meetings not far from home.
IPRAS has four Chapters, represented by International Societies, cover the main areas of our specialty: Reconstructive Microsurgery; Hand Surgery; Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and Craniofacial Surgery.
The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS), the chapter on Aesthetic Surgery within IPRAS since 1975, was founded on February 12, 1970 at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Its Founding Members were convinced of the need of a truly International Society whose members were mainly dedicated to Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, which in those days, over 30 years ago, was clearly seen as destined to become an important part of our specialty.
Founding Members: Castañares; González Ulloa; Hinderer; Perseu Lemos; Lewis; Malbec; Marino; Meyer; Mustardé; Nieto Cano; Serson Neto; Viñas.
The Confederation's Foundation (IPRAF), was founded in Berlin during the IPRAS Executive Committee meeting there on June 1st, 1993. IPRAF is the Educational and Humanitarian Arm of the Confederation and comprises of 13 committees covering varied topics, such as Quality Assurance of Plastic Surgery Units, Biomaterials and Educational Programs etc. Jean-Paul Bossé was the first President (1993-1999) and I have the honor of occupying this post until 2003.
Plastic Surgery is very much at the forefront in today's Society - we have come a long way since its beginnings - and only with the backing of a strong Confederation can we improve our knowledge for the benefit of our patients.
-- Ulrich T. Hinderer, M.D., Ph.D.
IPRAS Past General Secretaries
* Marita Eisenmann-Klein (Germany) 2011 - current
The full history of IPRAS is available on CD-ROM with many anecdotes and photographs from the General Secretaries' private collections. All the Newsletters from the initiation to 1999 are reproduced. It covers the growth of the Confederation in detail - the goals achieved, the conflicts and their resolution - and most of all conveys the immense generosity of those involved in its day to day business.