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The International Federation of Facial Plastic Surgery Societies (Federation) grew from a long and deep history of friendship and teaching between facial plastic surgeons in the United States and surgical leaders from around the globe—especially Latin America and Europe. There are too many to mention all, but M. Eugene Tardy, Jr., MD; Tony R. Bull, MD; Fernando Pedroza, MD; and Claus D. Walter, MD, are examples of surgeons who recognized the importance of international teaching and cooperation many years ago. Dr. Tardy taught widely in Europe and Latin America in addition to training his many fellows and residents in the United States. He was a mentor to Gilbert Nolst Trenité, MD, among other future leaders of the Federation. Dr. Bull taught both in the United States and around the globe. He was a transformative leader of the European Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery. On a personal level, he was a wise mentor to me. My opportunity to observe him operate at the London Clinic during my sabbatical at the Moorfields Eye Hospital in the 1980s still brings good memories and recalls valuable lessons. Dr. Pedroza had the courage and insight to bring his family to Boston to study with Richard C. Webster, MD. He brought that knowledge and experience back to Bogotá, Colombia, where he established one of the most well-known and innovative plastic surgery clinics in Latin America. Dr. Walter (pictured below) deserves an article or more of his own. He is a modest and immensely talented surgeon who sacrificed much to study in the United States and subsequently made many creative contributions to facial plastic surgery. He is still a vital force in facial plastic surgery at over 80 years of age

One of my goals when I was honored with the presidency of the AAFPRS was to create an organization to advance this wonderful tradition of international friendship and learning. It was an idea that fell on fertile ground. Many, like me, who have been exposed to these great teachers, were excited to continue the tradition. I would especially like to thank Ted A. Cook, MD, who became the leader of this new project almost immediately. We appointed an ad hoc committee to discuss it and to make recommendations to the AAFPRS Board: Dr. Cook; Eugene Alford, MD; Shan R. Baker, MD; Ellison F. Edwards, MD; Peter A. Hilger, MD; Marcello Hochman, MD; Ike Matta, MD; Norman J. Pastorek, MD; Craig W. Senders, MD; Dr. Tardy; Dean M. Tourimi, MD; Jon Turk, MD; and William Wolfenden, MD.

The first committee meeting was in the spring of 1996. Our first major decision was whether to make this an international member society or federation of societies from around the globe. Our decision to become a federation of societies has not only been effective but also has stimulated development of such societies in various regions. The Ad Hoc Committee made the following conclusions and recommendations: great idea; identify possible societies; identify individual contacts in countries; convene a meeting of those people; and define parameters for an "association."

The next key meeting in our history was held at the University Club in Washington, D.C. on September 24, 1996. It was attended by (see photo below, from left): Dr. Pedroza; Dean Southwick, MD; Peter A. Adamson, MD; myself; Enrique Azura, MD; Dr. Cook; Jaime Fandino, MD; Dr. Bull; Stephen Cohen, MD; and Michael Stearns, MD.

At the full-day meeting, the group recommended a federation but with a strong board of directors, whose major goal should be education and the development of facial plastic surgery

A few days later the Ad Hoc Committee adopted all of the recommendations of the international group and the AAFPRS Board of Directors concurred. The AAFPRS attorney, Tom Rhodes, was authorized to develop a structure for this new organization. On February 15, 1997, again at the University Club in Washington, D.C. the international group met. Those present who agreed to join were the AAFPRS, Australasia, Canada, Colombia, Europe, and Mexico. The Federation name was adopted and it was decided to have the first scientific congress with the AAFPRS International Meeting in June of 1998. On May 15, 1997, all of the above recommendations were approved by the AAFPRS Board of Directors and the Board voted for the AAFPRS to become a member of the Federation. All the other societies' boards did the same and many began to make the name changes to facial plastic surgery.

On September 7, 1997, in San Francisco, the Federation met and approved the bylaws developed by Mr. Rhodes. We elected the first group of officers to include Dr. Bull as president, Dr. Pedroza as vice-president, Dr. Cook as secretary, and Dr. Fandino as treasurer. The Federation decided to hold a scientific congress every two years alternating with the International Meetings of the AAFPRS. Also discussed was the proposal for a scientific congress in Cancun. The Federation was formally incorporated on January 5, 1998. In March of 1998, we approved the first scientific congress to be held in Cancun with three directors: Dr. Fandino; Armando Gonzalez-Romero, MD; and Dr. Azuara. It was decided that English would be the official language at all scientific meetings. The Brazilian delegates were present and participated in the decisions. On June 17, 1998, the first scientific congress was held with the AAFPRS and Brazil joined the Federation. At that time, it was elected to make the Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery the official journal of the Federation.

Eight superb congresses have been held and each has surpassed expectations: 1998 in Orlando; 2000 in Cancun; 2002 in New York City; 2004 in London; 2006 in Las Vegas; 2008 in Cartagena, Colombia; 2010 in Miami; and 2012 in Rome. The most recent in Rome, directed by Pietro Palma, MD, was beyond excellent both in educational content, attendance, and organization. The next to be held in New York, May 27-31, 2014, and directed by Jonathan M. Sykes, MD, and Anthony P. Sclafani, MD, will carry on this amazing tradition. The eight Federation presidents have each worked in their own way to develop and expand the mission of the Federation: 1998-2000, Dr. Bull; 2000-2002, Dr. Pedroza; 2002-2004, Dr. Cook; 2004-2006, Dr. Fandino; 2006-2008, Dr. Trenité; 2008-2010, Roxana Cobo, MD; 2010-2012, myself; and 2012-2014, Jose Juan Montes, MD.

We should recognize in particular the contributions of Dr. Cobo. No one in the organization has worked harder or been more committed to the educational mission of the Federation. She was particularly instrumental in developing the certification process, which the Federation Board of Directors approved in 2004. This partnership with the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ABFPRS) married a Federation credentialing process with the ABFPRS exam to create a unique pathway for each society to provide international recognition to members who completed established requirements. This recognition by national societies, however, was not the board certification many surgeons desired. After extensive discussions, the International Board for Certification in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (IBCFPRS) was founded in Rome, 2012. The first IBCFPRS Executive Committee members to serve were: Dr. Adamson, president; Dr. Cobo, vice-president; Holger Gassner, MD, treasurer; and Joseph Wong, MD, secretary; as well as Board members Santdeep Paun, MD, and Frazil Apaydin, MD, plus myself, who served as the IBCFPRS senior advisor. Administrative support for the IBCFPRS has been provided by Laurie Wirth and Steve Duffy. The first candidates for the IBCFPRS certification program sat the examination in Washington, D.C., in June, 2013; and candidates for the newly established European Board for Certification in Facial Plastic Surgery (EBCFPRS) sat for its examination in London, July, 2013.

The European Board for Certification in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery has elected to partner with the International Board to benefit from its quality and validated examination and will be able to offer its diplomates dual certification by both the EBCFPRS as well as the IBCFPRS. I was pleased last year to present the first Claus Walter Award to the international candidate (non AAFPRS) scoring the highest on the certifying examination

Another important project of the Federation is the International Observership Program, which allows individuals from around the world to obtain observerships in various countries. The Federation is also developing a Fellowship Review Process similar to that of the AAFPRS to further raise the standards of the many excellent fellowships.

Pro bono activities involving surgeons from the societies have always been an important part of our international relationships. The Federation has furthered these relationships by working with the AAFPRS FACE TO FACE to coordinate many programs particularly for cleft lip/palate missions. It has been typical, for example, to have a cleft lip/palate trip in conjunction with a Board meeting of a member society. An outstanding example of this cooperation is the conjunction of the Smile China trips organized by Dr. Wong and the Board meetings of the Pan Asia Society of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Colombia has undertaken similar missions with the coordination of Carlos Pedroza, MD.

The Federation has thus continued to serve its goal of improving communication and cooperation among all of our societies for many educational programs and other programs that benefit patients. The most important aspect of the history and future of the Federation, however, are the many relationships developed and our ability to improve the quality of facial plastic surgery around the globe. Current members and associate members of the Federation include:

  • American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
  • ASEAN Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
  • Australasian Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery O Brazilian Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery
  • Canadian Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
  • Colombian Society of Facial Plastic Surgery and Rhinology
  • Ecuadorian Society of Rhinology and Facial Surgery
  • European Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery
  • Mexican Society of Rhinology and Facial Surgery
  • Pan Asia Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
  • Taiwan Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
  • Venezuelan Society of Rhinology and Facial Plastic Surgery

JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery (formerly Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery) has been the official journal of the Federation since its beginning. Federation members serve on the Editorial Board and publish important studies in it. A single issue on Asian facial plastic surgery was published with the excellent help of Dr. Wong, founder of the Pan Asia Society of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery is committed to being the global journal for facial plastic surgery provided by its member societies.

So from an idea in 1995, we now have a thriving international federation and a respected international certifying board. I have mentioned some of those most responsible for this success, but there isn't space for many more that deserve recognition. The one individual who has been most important to the growth and governance of the Federation is Steve Duffy. He has provided wonderful support and without it we couldn't have succeeded. Thank you Steve! The Federation exists to serve the educational needs of its member societies. The camaraderie with our colleagues around the globe is perhaps as important as the science we share. Our patients can only benefit. This is only the beginning for our Federation's history—the future is bright and will be written by a new generation of international leaders.

What is IFFPSS  |   Goals and Activities  |   Structure of IFFPSS  |   Benefits of IFFPSS Membership  |   Future congresses of the IFFPSS
IBCFPRS Application  |   IFFPSS Fellowship Rules for IBCFPRS