• Asian Pacific Federation of Societies for Surgery of the Hand


Biannual Newsletter
Asian-Pacific Federation of Societies for Surgery of the Hand


Biannual Newsletter
Asian-Pacific Federation of Societies for Surgery of the Hand

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" - Lao Tzu

Welcome to the inaugural issue of ‘Hands-On’, the official newsletter of the Asian-Pacific Federation of Societies for Surgery of the Hand (APFSSH). This electronic magazine was born out of a desire by the President and the current executive committee of the APFSSH to have greater communication between member nations and to be able to share information easily among hand surgeons in the region.

The success of this newsletter depends on the involvement and participation of all our members. Please support us by contributing letters, stories, short articles, and by advertising Hand Surgery related products and services.

Stay Safe & Happy Reading

Editorial Team @ APFSSH Newsletter
Jennifer, Norimasa, Pankaj, Raymar & Sandeep

Message from Our President
Raja Sabapathy

A Vision for the Decade

My warm greetings to all in the APFSSH. We are in the midst of a pandemic, which has regrettably caused severe loss of lives and livelihoods. I am penning this message in the midst of a lockdown in our state. Times like these allow us to introspect and to look beyond. The good past gives you strength, and hope allows you to build a future.

As I write this, I am looking to set a goal for the APFSSH for the next decade. Tony Berger was kind enough to invite me to deliver the Presidential Guest lecture at the Melbourne APFSSH Congress which he conducted so well despite challenging circumstances. Speaking on the value of having purpose and goals for progress, I suggested ‘Providing Quality Hand Surgery care to the Millions who are less privileged’ as a purpose for the APFSSH. We are a 13-member Federation, representing 29% of the worlds population.

Less privileged are those who are not able to obtain the necessary quality surgical care at the time they need it. It can occur in any country, and more often happens in developing countries. Research on delivery of surgical care points to lack of Awareness, Availability and Affordability as the main causes of this gap. As a Federation we can do our bit through education, teaching and training and spreading the successful best practice models to the world. This will occur through our meetings, journal, training fellowships, and now the newsletter.

The service gap will even be higher in many countries of Asia Pacific, who are not members of the Federation. Getting them into our fold is the important agenda of this Council. Anyone can help and do it. I would like to recollect as to how India joined the Federation. It is because of one man – Lam Chuan Teoh, who thought he would ‘nudge’ us to join. As the Secretary of the Federation as it was being formed, Prof. Teoh had sent out a letter to all the hand societies in the AsianPacific region in November 1994 to participate in a meeting in Singapore in January 1995 and join the Federation.

"Providing Quality Hand Surgery care to the Millions who are less privileged." Raja Sabapathy

Message from Our President
Raja Sabapathy

It is worthy to recollect some lines from the letter. ‘Communication among the developed countries may not be a problem, but communication with less developed countries the problem seems to be unsurmountable. We have a difficult task ahead and we expect to move slowly.’ India was one of the countries that had not responded.

International Faculty with SGH Team @ Advanced Instructional Course, January 1995

Standing (L to R): Ueli Buchler, AK Kour, Kazutero Doi, Luis Scheker, Yong Fok Chuan, Michael Tonkin, PC Leung, Simo Vilkki, CL Foo, KC Tan; Seated (L to R): Robert Pho, Alain Gilbert, Tatsuya Tajima, Ralph Manktelow, Teoh Lam Chuan (Photo Courtesy Teoh Lam Chuan)

In January 1995, I had registered for the Advanced Instructional Course in Hand and Microsurgery and the Federation was being formed on the side-lines of the meeting. As I entered the hall, he loudly exclaimed, ‘Hi, you are from India? I was looking for you. We are forming the Federation and we have not heard from your country. Never mind lah. Don't go off after the scientific sessions. Join the council meeting, listen and take the message to your country. You must make it happen’. He was also kind enough to extend an invitation for the dinner in a revolving restaurant in a high tower. I saw stars. That experience of being with Tatsuya Tajima, Wayne Morrison, FuChan Wei, Robert Pho, Kazutero Doi, Michael Tonkin, and so many stalwarts who were representing their countries left an indelible impression on a young mind and that led India to join.

Message from Our President
Raja Sabapathy

Delegates @ Instructional Course

Dr Sabapathy and Dr Scheker having an animated discussion. Dr Panupan (red arrow) in the background
(Photo Courtesy Teoh Lam Chuan)

I would say that the proactiveness of Prof. Teoh to ‘NUDGE’ made it happen. So, I would request the members who have connections, friends and trainees in countries like Cambodia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and so many nations who are not members of the Federation to talk to them, ‘nudge’ and make them join. That would be the first step we take to reach our purpose.

While embarking on a major journey, we should celebrate small victories to make it pleasant. We have an occasion now - the inaugural newsletter. As your President, I congratulate and convey our appreciation to Jennifer, Norimasa, Pankaj, Raymar and Sandeep who made it happen.

Stay safe. Looking forward to meeting all of you soon.

Raja Sabapathy, President, APFSSH


Secretary General' s Brief
Fuminori Kanaya

An Eventful Year

I am happy to be able to report about the society's activities for the last year in this inaugural issue of our newsletter. We managed to have a very successful Congress in Melbourne in March 2020, just as many countries were starting to lock down for the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Towards making the Asian Pacific Hand Surgery community even more connected, cohesive, and vibrant." Fuminori Kanaya

The meeting was well attended and organized under the able leadership of our current President-Elect Anthony Berger and his team. For many of us, Melbourne was the last physical congress we have had an opportunity to attend. Preparations are underway for the next Congress in Singapore from May 31st to June 3rd, 2023. We hope by then international travel would have normalized, but the planning team are catering for all eventualities. Singapore 2023 will also be the last of our congresses in the triennial format, as the meetings will revert after that to the biannual congresses that we previously had. This increase in the meeting tempo will provide hand surgeons in the region more opportunities to share their work and network.

Reach is an important part of the work of our federation. This newly launched newsletter is one means for us to better inform our existing and potential members and other interested parties about our work. In addition, our President Dr Raja Sabapathy has worked to revamp our website (www.apfssh.net), making it much more informative and useful. Please visit it if you have not done so. We are also asking individual member societies to contribute a short write up of their society to be featured on the site. We have also set up a society facebook account for better engagement
( www.facebook.com/apfssh).

Secretary General' s Brief
Fuminori Kanaya

With the registration of the society in Singapore, we have since managed to open a bank account to handle society financial matters. Formalizing a constitution fitting for our society and compatible with Singapore law was an important part of this work which was spearheaded by Anthony Berger, Alphonsus Chong, Sandeep Sebastin and Wendy Teo. The formal registration of the society and bank account is an important milestone in our history, and enable us to do much more. We greatly appreciate the donations from our Hong Kong and Japanese members to build our financial war chest, and more recently, Australia has donated proceeds from the 2020 meeting as well.

Opening of the APFSSH Bank Account

Alphonsus Chong, Anthony Berger and Goo Hyun Baek celebrating the milestone of the APFSSH Bank Account

We have also started collecting membership subscriptions. Thank you all for your support. These resources will greatly help our society achieve its aims.

The pandemic has put a hold on physical meetings and fellowships which we were planning to launch. Nevertheless, we are still working on our mission and engaging our members. We have strengthened our bench by adding the member-atlarge (MAL) position to get more representation and diversity for the APFSSH leadership. We currently have three MALs and plan to increase the number by another two to make five.

Online AGM of the APFSSH (6 February 2021)

It has been an eventful year for the society. The next few years will be even more exciting as we push even harder to make the Asian Pacific Hand Surgery community even more connected, cohesive, and vibrant

Take care and stay safe.

Fuminori Kanaya, Secretary General, APFSSH


Update on Our Journal
Goo Hyun Baek

To Improve is to Change

First of all, I would like to congratulate the executive committee on the birth of the APFSSH Newsletter.

Journal of Hand Surgery, Asian-Pacific Volume is the official journal of the APFSSH. It was first published in 1996 as a biannual issue, became a triennial issue in 2005 and has been published 4 times a year since 2017.

The title of our journal changed from Hand Surgery to The Journal of Hand Surgery Asian-Pacific Volume from 2016. Along with the American and the European Volumes of the Journal of Hand Surgery, our journal serves as one of the legs of a tripod to expand and refine wisdom on hand and upper limb surgery and related research.

Over the past few years, we noted a delay of about a year between acceptance of the article and publication. Early exposure of the accepted articles is important to the authors as well as the editorial office. We started an electronically published (e-pub) system from this year. Articles that are accepted for publication are 'e-pub' ahead of their print version and are available on pubmed and other databases. Of late, there has been an increase in the number of submitted articles. To address this, the editorial office has decided to publish the journal bimonthly from 2022 (six issues a year).

In 2020, 288 manuscripts were submitted to our journal from 37 countries. The acceptance rate was 39%. Most editors are trying to maintain or improve the quality of their journal. But this is a doubleedged sword. The editor should pick up welldesigned prospective studies or studies which proved 'something new' to increase the impact factor.

"I think all the studies deserve to be published as long as they are well formatted and add value to existing literature " Goo Hyun Baek

Update on Our Journal
Goo Hyun Baek

Certain journals do not accept case reports which decrease the impact factor significantly. However, impact factor cannot be the sole metric of journal quality. Techniques using expensive instrumentation or newer medical treatment may not be available in developing countries. Studies performed in the developing countries with poor infrastructure generally have greater difficulty in getting accepted.

I think all studies including retrospective case series or case reports, irrespective of whether they were performed in the developed or developing countries, deserve to be published as long as they are well formatted and add value to the existing literature. In this way, we can move forward together

Stay Safe. Stay Inspired.

Goo Hyun Baek, Editor-in-Chief, JHS-AP


List of Countries that Submitted Manuscripts to JHS-AP in 2020

No. of Manuscripts Countries
74 Japan
38 India
23 United Kingdom
17 South Korea & United States
15 Italy
14 Australia
12 Singapore
07 Belgium & Turkey
05 China, France, Ireland & Malaysia
04 Thailand
03 Canada, Colombia, Greece, Hong Kong, Philippines & Spain
02 Egypt, Germany, Indonesia, Iran, Israel & Switzerland
01 Argentina, Brazil, Cyprus, Finland, Iraq, Netherlands, New Zealand, Oman, Russia & Taiwan

Society in the Spotlight - Bangladesh
Sajedur Reza Faruquee

Bangladesh Society for Surgery of the Hand (BDSSH)

The war for liberation of Bangladesh ended in 1971 and ushered in a phase of growth of our health care system. It was initially focused on providing basic health needs and addressing war related injuries. Specialty care in Orthopaedic Surgery and Plastic Surgery began in 1975. The nationalization of the major industries led to an era of rapid industrialization with a resultant increasing incidence of hand injuries. The treatment outcomes were poor, and complications were high, as there were no hand specialists around.

In 1988, Professor Ramdew Ram Kairy underwent training in Hand Surgery at the National University Hospital, Singapore. Upon his return, he started the practice of Hand Surgery. In 2004, Professor Kairy met Dr. Raja Sabapathy and Professor Bhaskaranand Kumar at the annual meeting of the Indian Society for Surgery of the Hand at Gangtok. He was encouraged to start a society for Hand Surgery in Bangladesh.

Historic meeting at NITOR on 18 August 2005 to form BDSSH

Attended by Prof RR Kairy, Dr. Md. Abul Kalam, Dr Sk. Abbasuddin, Dr. Monowarul Islam, Dr. OFG Kibria, Dr Shaymol C Debnath, Dr. ASM Monirul Alam, Dr. Shah MH Rahman, and Dr. Sajedur Reza Faruquee

At a historic meeting on 18 August 2005 at the National Institute of Traumatology and Orthopaedic Rehabilitation (NITOR) in Dhaka, the decision to form Bangladesh Society for Surgery of the Hand (BDSSH) was made. The objectives of BDSSH were:

  • To promote and direct development of Hand Surgery in Bangladesh.
  • To foster and coordinate education and research in Hand Surgery.
  • To have trained manpower, arrange instructional hand courses and to send young surgeons abroad for training.
  • To establish an independent specialty in future.

Society in the Spotlight - Bangladesh
Sajedur Reza Faruquee

In 2006, Orthopaedic and Plastic surgeons that were interested in hand surgery were invited to become members of the Society. Later that year, by-laws and constitution 'BDSSHCON' has been held annually since then and is attended by 150+ surgeons and includes a number of foreign faculty as well. Delegates from BDSSH joined the IFSSH congress at Sydney in 2007 and in 2008 at the delegates meeting at Lucerne, Bangladesh became the 50th member nation of IFSSH.

Our membership had also increased to 63 at that point. We became the youngest member of the APFSSH at the Cebu meeting in 2017 and our members now regularly attend meetings and have presented scientific papers in Australia, Germany, India, Thailand, Singapore and the United Kingdom. Despite Covid-19 pandemic, five surgeons attended the last APFSSH meeting in Melbourne in March 2020. The Bangladesh government has recognized Hand Surgery as a separate specialty. There are now 42 positions for Hand Surgeons at Government Medical Colleges across the nation. These include residents as well as professors. The Hand Surgery clinic at NITOR, now headed by Prof Jahangir, has been serving the nation since 2006. A Hand of BDSSH were formulated and approved by 27 members with Professor Kairy as founding President, Professor Abul Kalam as founding Vice-President and Dr. A S M Monirul Alam as founding Honorary Secretary. The logo of the society was designed by Dr. Shah MH Rahman, showing two hands of a surgeon in a functional position protecting the national emblem and aiding growth.

BDSSHCON-06, NITOR, 25 Nov 2006

(L to R): Dr ASM Monirul Alam, Prof Siraj-ul-Islam, Prof Shamsuddin Ahmed, Prof RR Kairy

We started sending surgeons for specialty training abroad. Dr OFG Kibria went to Stanley Hospital (Chennai, India) in 2004 under Dr G Balakrishnan and I received my hand surgical training in 2006 at Ganga Hospital, (Coimbatore, India) under Dr Raja Sabapathy. Since then more than 25 surgeons received training at different centers overseas. The 1st national conference 'BDSSHCON-06' was held at NITOR on 25 November 2006. It was attended by 125 surgeons from Bangladesh and there were 27 podium presentations. The first AGM of BDSSH was held and the first executive committee was voted in.

'BDSSHCON' has been held annually since then and is attended by 150+ surgeons and includes a number of foreign faculty as well. Delegates from BDSSH joined the IFSSH congress at Sydney in 2007 and in 2008 at the delegates meeting at Lucerne, Bangladesh became the 50th member nation of IFSSH. Our membership had also increased to 63 at that point. We became the youngest member of the APFSSH at the Cebu meeting in 2017 and our members now regularly attend meetings and have presented scientific papers in Australia, Germany, India, Thailand, Singapore and the United Kingdom. Despite Covid-19 pandemic, five surgeons attended the last APFSSH meeting in Melbourne in March 2020.

The Bangladesh government has recognized Hand Surgery as a separate specialty. There are now 42 positions for Hand Surgeons at Government Medical Colleges across the nation. These include residents as well as professors. The Hand Surgery clinic at NITOR, now headed by Prof Jahangir, has been serving the nation since 2006.

Society in the Spotlight - Bangladesh
Sajedur Reza Faruquee

Team Bangladesh @ IFSSH, Sydney, 2007

(L to R): Dr ASM Monirul Alam, Prof NK Datta, Prof Kh Abdul Awal, Prof MA Samad, Dr Md Abul Kalam, Prof RR Kairy

A Hand Surgery wing was started in 2017 at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, helmed by Prof KP Das. A postgraduate course in Hand Surgery was started at the Sheikh Hasina Institute of Burns and Plastic Surgery with a dedicated Hand Surgery Outpatient clinic. Hand Surgeons are practising in private sector also. Our membership has now risen to 101.

Bangladesh becoming 50th Member of IFSSH, Lucerne, 2008

(L to R): Prof RR Kairy, Dr S Raja Sabapathy, Dr ASM Monirul Alam, Dr Md Abul Kalam

Team Bangladesh @ APFSSH, Melbourne, 2020

(L to R): Dr Lata, Dr Wee Lam, Dr Sajedur Reza Faruquee, Dr Monsoor, Dr Sumi

Sajedur Reza Faruquee, Honorary Secretary, BDSSH


Executive Body BDSSH

President: Dr. Md. Abul Kala
Vice-President: Dr. Nakul K Datta
Hon. Secretary: Dr. Sajedur Reza Faruquee
Treasurer: Dr. Krishna Priya Das
Joint Secretary: Dr. Md. Mohiuddin
Editor: Dr. Tanveer Ahmed
Members: Dr. R R Kairy (Ex-Officio); Dr. ASM Monirul Alam (Ex-Officio)
Dr. Dipankar Nath Talukder, Dr. Md. Jahangir Alam,
Dr. Md. Asraful Islam, Dr. Ahmed Asif Iqbal & Dr. OFG Kibria

JHS-AP Article In-Focus
Alphonsus Chong

Management of Birth Brachial Plexus Injury Including Use of Distal Nerve Transfers.
Thatte MR, Nayak NS, Hiremath AS. J Hand Surg Asian Pac Vol. 2020;25(3):267-275.

Brachial plexus palsy at birth is a well recognized condition where early diagnosis and treatment can optimize outcomes and prevent late complications. Although most patients spontaneously recover from these injuries, a significant proportion of them do not. For this latter group of patients, there is only a limited window in which nerve surgery is helpful.

In this timely review, the authors, who have extensive clinical experience with this condition, share their views on the initial assessment and treatment of birth brachial plexus injury. They point out key decision points in recognizing inadequate or no spontaneous recovery, pointing to a need for surgery. The article provides insight into the disputed area of timing and indications for surgery, as well as the different types of surgical reconstruction currently being practiced. Finally the review provides the management algorithm that has worked for the author's practice, including surgical techniques such as the more standard intraplexal repair of the plexus, as well as the more recently applied distal nerve transfers.

JHS-AP Article In-Focus
Alphonsus Chong

Time of Evaluation of Pain Catastrophizing after Surgery for Upper Extremity Motor Disorders. Hirata J, Inoue K. J Hand Surg Asian Pac Vol. 2021 Mar;26(1):41-46.

Pain is a common symptom and also influences outcomes following hand surgery. However, pain is variably experienced by different individuals. This can be explained by the fact that pain does not correlate perfectly with physiological insult or injury. Other factors, including cultural, interpersonal and cognitive aspects of the individual influence the pain experienced.

Pain catastrophizing occurs when a patient engages in cognitive activities which exaggerates the actual or anticipated pain, i.e. the patient approaches pain with a negative mental set. The level of pain catastrophizing is typically measured using a questionnaire and has been shown to predict pain outcomes, including intensity of post-surgical pain, response and misuse of opioids and persistent surgical pain. Pain catastrophizing has been shown to predict finger stiffness, grip strength and range of motion following distal radius fractures as well as lower patient satisfaction after carpal tunnel release.

However, the level of pain catastrophizing is affected by the pain a patient is experiencing. So the timing of evaluation may be important. This work addresses this question by studying changes in pain in the early post-operative period and their corresponding pain catastrophizing scores using a commonly used scale. They studied this in a range of upper extremity surgery ranging from finger fractures to rotator cuff surgery.

Their findings suggest that scale scores at 2-weeks post-op best predicts pain and Hand 20(a Japanese Hand Outcomes questionnaire) at 8 weeks. As the authors acknowledge, the limited scope of the surgeries performed and exclusion of patients with severe pain (which is not qualified or explained in their paper), limits the generalizability of their findings.

Alphonsus Chong, Deputy Editor, JHS-AP


Diversity in Hand Surgery
Jennifer Green

Diversity at the Australian Hand Surgery Society 2021

The Australian Hand Surgery Society (AHSS) recently held the most diverse, albeit “virtual” Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) in its history. The four outstanding guest speakers (below) were of diverse background and gender, the moderators were almost 50% female and there was strong representation of women among the speakers in the program. In addition, the 2021 AHSS ASM included the first ever diversity session.

  • Dr Eva-Maria Baur Germany

  • Dr Paco del Pinal Spain

  • Professor Max Haerle Germany

  • Dr PC Ho Hong Kong

Perhaps the most powerful statement of AHSS’s dedication to gender equity is that 9 of the 17 (53%) Post Fellowship Education & Training (PFET) graduates in Hand Surgery to date are female. AHSS has strongly committed to diversity in hand surgery in its adopted Ethics Guidelines: "AHSS is committed to diversity and gender equality in healthcare and to removing any practices that hinder that commitment. The AHSS strives to implement this commitment through its policies, practices, and inclusive culture. It is an expectation that every individual who attends the AHSS ASM is respected and treated equally regardless of their cultural background, gender, role or particular circumstance."

What is the science supporting the AHSS decision to support diversity? There is overwhelming evidence that diversity of the healthcare workforce is critical for healthcare equity. Hand surgery must reflect the composition of the community we serve in order to provide the best care– not only the women, but our indigenous and under-represented minority (URM) communities. There is increasing data in orthopaedics and other specialties showing the healthcare inequity that results from workforces that lack diversity. A man is between 3 and 22 times more likely to be offered a knee replacement than a woman with the same symptoms.

Diversity in Hand Surgery
Jennifer Green

The outcomes for orthopaedic trauma and arthroplasty are much poorer in URM patients in wealthy nations. A recent study of over a million births in Florida show that the survival rate of black infants increased by 50% when they were treated by a black doctor. Diversity in healthcare can be the difference not only between access to surgical treatment & poorer outcomes, but in some specialties it can mean the difference between life and death. What are the evidence-based strategies to increase the inclusion of women and URM in hand surgery? The strategies include creating visible role models; mentoring; mitigating bias in our selection process and appointments to leadership roles; and increasing flexibility in training for everyone. This requires commitment from the leadership and initiatives to support parenting, particularly during training. The nation with the highest percentage of women in surgery is Estonia and it is no coincidence that is also has the best parental leave and child support policies in the OECD.

Diversity is powerful. Diverse organisations attract the top talent (as they select from a larger pool of candidates), they are more innovative and they make better decisions. They are even more profitable. As the past chair of the Australian Orthopaedic Association Orthopaedic Women’s Link, I became curious about diversity initiatives beyond Australia. The network snowballed and the result has been the formation of the International Orthopaedic Diversity Alliance (IODA) – a collaboration to advance diversity in orthopaedics representing all six continents.

Dr Kristy Weber

Past President AAOS

We are extremely fortunate to have the immediate Past President of the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) Kristy Weber, as our President with a rapidly growing membership of orthopaedic association presidents, surgeons, trainees, junior doctors, orthopaedic industry members and medical students. IODA is honoured to be supported by AAOS and the British Orthopaedic Association (BOA) and shall be hosting free webinar symposia from the AAOS (31 Aug-3 Sep, 2021) and the BOA (Friday 24 Sep, 2021) Annual Meetings in collaboration with Women in Orthopaedics Worldwide (WOW). WOW is a network including more than 40 orthopaedic women’s societies. IODA welcomes hand surgeons – including those who are not orthopaedic - who are interested in diversity in surgery. Membership is free at www.orthopaedicdiversity.org

Jennifer Green, Diversity Champion, APFSSH


News from IFSSH
Marc Garcia Elias

International Federation of Societies for Surgery of the Hand

The IFSSH is 55 years old and is growing from strength to strength. Since the Berlin congress, the Ex-Co of the IFSSH is busy in formatting the new by-laws of the Federation. This is being done with the goals of ensuring greater member participation, increasing the opportunities in leadership positions in the Federation and reaching out to the needs of the Member nations.

The main change is the decision taken by the delegates to retain the triennial mode of congresses while moving on to a mode of leadership change once in two years. In addition, there will be an increase of the Member-at-large position to five from the present one. A regional distribution has been planned as per the number of member societies and number of members. One each from North and South America, two from Europe and one from the Asian-Pacific region will be selected. Elections for these posts will happen during the London Congress. We hope to have a meeting of the delegates of the member nations probably in the last week of June or first week of July to explain to the delegates the changes and the opportunities that will open up. Please ensure that your national delegate participates in this important meeting. Another matter of importance to the Asian-Pacific region is that it is a chance for the region to host the IFSSH 2028. The venue will be voted during the London Congress in June 2022. The timelines for submitting the bid process will be announced after the next delegates meeting. Meanwhile if your country wishes to bid, please get ready to welcome the world to your place by getting ready with an attractive bid.

IFSSH has a wonderful e-magazine called EZine and it is the 10th year since its publication. Past President Ulrich Mennon has steered it well over these 10 years. Please visit the IFSSH website www.ifssh.info to read the back numbers of the EZine and also to know the news and notes.

This year has been like no other due to the pandemic. While we all hoped that we will be free in 2021, the target still eludes us. I am sure it will soon be fine. Meanwhile be safe and we look forward to seeing you in London from June 6-10, 2022 for the next IFSSH congress. The team led by David Shewring and Jonathan Hobby are working very hard to provide us a congress to remember.

Report from APFSHT
Hercy Li

Asian-Pacific Federation of Societies for Hand Therapy (APFSHT)

The IFSSH is 55 years old and is growing from strength to strength. Since the Berlin congress, the Ex-Co of the IFSSH is busy in formatting the new by-laws of the Federation. This is being done with the goals of ensuring greater member participation, increasing the opportunities in leadership positions in the Federation and reaching out to the needs of the Member nations.

APFSHT Executive Committee Group Photo @ Cebu 2017

Hand Therapist Delegates from Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Bangladesh @ Melbourne 2020

Anderson to put forth an enriching programme for the hand therapists. Hand therapists from twenty over countries congregated and engaged enthusiastically with current updates in hand therapy and hand surgery topics. Shortly after the 2020 APFSHT congress, we have several exciting events in the pipeline. Currently, we are working along with IFSHT under the lead of Nicola Goldsmith, in planning for the 12th IFSHT Congress 2022 in London. Meantime, we are also gearing up for the next APFSSH/APFSHT Congress in Singapore in 2023

If you are interested to know more about APFSHT, our members and our ongoing activities, please find us on our website. We look forward to many eventful regional and international meetings with the Asian-Pacific Hand surgery community.

Hercy Li, Immediate Past President, APFSHT


Executive Body APFSHT

President: Ahmad Yazid Jus (Malaysia)
Imm. Past President: Hercy Li (Hong Kong)
Secretary: Kris Tong (Singapore)
Treasurer: Eng Wah Tan (Malaysia)
Historian: Kent Chang (Taiwan)
Committee Member: Cecilia Li Wai Ping (Hong Kong) & Seiji Nishimura (Japan)

Member Society Status - Australia
Jeffrey Ecker

Australian Hand Surgery Society (AHSS)

Australia has been very fortunate with the Covid pandemic. This is largely due to the fact that we are an isolated country and have implemented a quarantine system for returning travellers. In addition, we have a very efficient contact-tracing system where contacts of people who have tested positive can be quickly identified. At times, it was necessary to isolate and restrict travel between states within the country.

We are now immunising the population. It is proving to be a challenge to get a sufficient quantity of vaccines and vaccines that people trust and feel comfortable using. Each state in Australia has fared differently and adopted slightly different approaches.

The impact on myself as a surgeon in Western Australia is that I cannot leave Australia without government permission and on return I will face two weeks of mandatory quarantine in a selected hotel. The problem with hotel quarantine is that it is still possible to get infected while in quarantine because the airflow is not appropriate for a quarantine situation. People have acquired the virus while in quarantine. We are coming to the realisation that this virus is something we will live with and that it will impact our economy in terms of debt. We have had social policies to keep people employed and keep small businesses open. This is an expense that will need to be repaid in the future. I believe that Australians have been remarkably fortunate in the way Covid has impacted our population. We feel very sad to see the impact of Covid on other countries.

Jeffrey Ecker, President, AHSS


Executive Body AHSS

President: Jeffrey Ecker
Secretary: Mark Rose
Treasurer: Cameron Mackay & Ian Hargreaves
Newsletter Editor: Douglas Wheen
Archivist: Roland Hicks

Member Society Status - India
Pankaj Ahire

Indian Society for Surgery of the Hand (ISSH)

ISSH under the leadership of Ravi Mahajan continuously engaged with the members through periodic academic postings like Sunday Reads, Article of the month, Drawing of the month, Surgical Video of the month and a Monthly Journal club. ISSH also launched its YouTube channel.

Parag Lad conducted the CME on OrthoTV platform and had a collective viewership of more than 6000. Nilesh Satbhai’s efforts with the 'webinar series' brought in stalwarts of Hand Surgery from across the globe to our screens. The first edition of IWS (ISSH Webinar Series) had eighteen, 90 minute heart-to-heart talks. IWS-1 is available on ISSH website for the members and on The MediTube for the non-members.

  • Ravi Mahajan President, ISSH

  • Parag Lad Member, ISSH

  • Nilesh Satbhai Executive Member, ISSH

  • Praveen Bhardwaj Editor, ISSH

ISSH & British Society for Surgery of the Hand (BSSH) conducted a joint CME in March 2021 led by Praveen Bhardwaj (ISSH) and Sumedh Talwalkar (BSSH). Our annual conference that was to be held in Chennai in August 2020 has been rescheduled to August 2021 as a virtual conference with BSSH as Guest society. As we improve our activities on digital platforms, we hope and await the post pandemic normalcy

Pankaj Ahire, Secretary, ISSH


Executive Body ISSH

Trustees: G Balakrishnan, Bhaskaranand Kumar & S Raja Sabapathy
President: Ravi Mahajan
Vice-President: Mukund Thatte
Secretary & Webmaster: Pankaj Ahire
Editor: Praveen Bhardwaj
Historian: Vikas Gupta
Executive Members: Ajeet Tiwari, Amit Varade, Manoj Haridas, Nilesh Satbhai & Sanjay Kumar Giri

Member Society Status - Malaysia
Ruban Sivanoli

Malaysian Society for Surgery of the Hand (MSSH)

Greetings From Malaysia,
We are going through our biggest wave of COVID, We find ourselves trying to be safe while pursuing our goals of improving the quality of hand care and services to our patients.

We managed to organise our 16th Annual Scientific meeting together with the Malaysian Hand Therapist Society. It was held virtually from the 25th -27th of March 2021. Simultaneous tendon workshops in 7 different centres throughout our country were held on the first day. We had 15-20 participants for each tendon workshop and 192 doctors and 76 hand therapists for the virtual meeting. The meeting recordings have been posted on YouTube for your viewing ( Day 1 / Day 2 ).

President MSSH, Dr Iskander at UKM Tendon Worksop

We will be hosting the 2nd Combined ASEAN Hand Meeting from 3rd-5th September 2021 at the world famous KLCC. This will be a hybrid meeting as we understand there may be travel constraints. We are in the midst of confirming a cadaver workshop for flap dissection and a saw bone workshop for internal and external fixators. There is a logo design competition for the ASEAN Hand Society. We would love for you to join us especially if you are from the ASEAN region. Please look for updates at our Facebook page and website.

Ruban Sivanoli, Honorary Secretary, MSSH


Executive Body MSSH

President: Mohd Iskander Mohd Amin
Vice-President: Jeremy Prakash
Honorary Secretary Ruban Sivanoli
Honorary Treasurer: Shams Amir
Committee Members: Aniza Faizi, Mohd Sallehuddin, Sachin Shivdas & Shalimar Abdullah

Member Society Status - Philippines
Raymar Sibonga

Association of Hand Surgeons of the Philippines (AHSP)

The latin phrase “Omnia mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis” means "All things change, and we change with them". The COVID-19 pandemic may have caught everyone by surprise, but not off-guard. The AHSP continued promoting medical education in hand surgery.

During these difficult and uncertain times, we have organized webinar lecture series, with different orthopaedic training institutions nationwide and the Philippine Orthopaedic Association (POA). The society also launched its website "handsurgeons.ph" in order to facilitate online booking of appointments, and finding nearby hand surgeons based on patients' location.

Upper Extremity Workhorse Free Flaps ASSH Webinar Emmanuel Estrella

(Past President, AHSP)

Raymar Sibonga, Member, AHSP


  • Webinar on Soft Tissue Surgery of Elbow

    Nathaniel Orillaza Jr. (Past President, AHSP), Raymar Sibonga,
    Ajeet Tiwari (India) & Ellen Lee

  • Webinar on Regional Blocks

    John Huber Pua (President AHSP) &
    Amir Ahmad (Malaysia)

  • Webinar on Hand Infections

    Ameena Santos

Executive Body AHSP

President: John Hubert Pua
Vice-President: Eugenio Brito
Secretary Jessica Anne Gandionco
Treasurer: Precious Grace Handog
Ex-Officio: Nathaniel Orillaza, Jr.

Member Society Status - Singapore
Robert Yap

Singapore Society for Hand Surgery (SSHS)

Covid-19 has impacted us all. SSHS had to adapt to these changes. Our annual Hand review course and scientific meeting was postponed from 2020 and was held online via Zoom from 29 to 31 January 2021. It was attended by 148 participants. 44 local and international faculty presented at the conference.

The Symposia on Advances in Reconstructive Microsurgery on 31 Jan 2021 included presentations from Prof Yuan-Kun Tu (Taiwan), Prof Sang-Hyun Woo (Korea), Prof Joon-Pio Hong (Korea) and Prof Zeng-Tao Wang (China).

SSHS organized a Resident Review Series for Hand, Orthopaedics and Plastic Surgery resdents over a virtual platform on a weekly basis from 30 May to 18 July 2020 (8 sessions).

Faculty and Participants @ SSHS Virtual Meeting January 2021

The society also conducted 3 online teaching sessions for Hand Surgery trainees in 2020/2021

  • 26 Sep 2020, Lower Limb Reconstruction, Hand Surgery @ Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
  • 20 Feb 2021, Wrist Trauma, Hand Surgery @ Singapore General Hospital.
  • 20 Mar 2021, PIPJ Injuries, Ortho-Hand Partners @ Gleneagles Hospital.

The SSHS Travelling Fellowship was suspended in 2020. The 6th Congress of the Asia Pacific Wrist Association scheduled for 2020 will be held along with the APFFSH meeting in 2023. SSHS intends to hold a joint meeting with the British Society for Surgery of the Hand from 11-13 February 2022 in Singapore. Further updates will be posted on the society's web page. Our society has 81 members.

Robert Yap, Secretary, SSHS


Executive Body SSHS

President: Mark Puhaindran
Vice-President: Sreedharan Sechachalam
Secretary Robert Yap
Treasurer: Jackson Jiang
Editor: Rebecca Lim
Committee Members: Duncan McGrouther & Soumen Das De
Auditors: Jacqueline Tan & Dawn Chia

Member Society Status - South Korea
Hyun Sik Gong

Korean Society for Surgery of the Hand (KSSH)

Members of the Korean Society for Surgery of the Hand (KSSH) are also suffering from the continued impact of COVID-19 and many local inperson meetings have been cancelled. Eager to see each other, at least online, we held two online symposia and a one day combined meeting.

  • Triangular fibrocartilage complex injury: controversies and challenges on February 22, 2021.
  • Treatment of the contracture inducing hand malfunction: principle and strategy on May 3, 2021.
  • The Past, Present, and Future in Hand and Microsurgery” on May 29, 2021. Annual Combined Symposium of the KSSH and Korean Microsurgery Society.

1st KSSH Webinar Symposium 2021

The number of attendees were more than we expected, reflecting the desire to continue learning and sharing knowledge in hand surgery. We found this platform was welcomed by our younger members who appreciated the time and energy saved compared to inperson meetings. We are planning to continue this bimonthly webinar.

The annual congress of the KSSH is planned for November 5-7, 2021 with Kwang Seog Kim (Chonnam National University) as Chairman and Jong Woong Park (Korea University) as President. We sincerely hope all members of the APFSSH stay healthy and happy through this difficult period.

Hyun Sik Gong, Scientific Committee Chair,KSSH


Executive Body KSSH

President: Jong Woon Park
Chairman (Board): Kwang Seog Kim
Director, General Affairs: Hong il Kim
Treasurer: Jae Sung Lee & Jin Soo Kim
Directors: Dong Hyo Shin, Hyun Sik Gong, In Hyeok Rhyou, Jae Ha Hwang, Jae Hoon Lee, Jin ho Kim, Joo Yup Lee, Sae Hwi Ki, Seok CHan Eun, Seung Suk Choi, Soo Hong Han, Young Cheon Na, Young Ho Kwon & Young Ho Lee

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events


Office Bearers

President: Raja Sabapathy rajahand@gmail.com
President-Elect: Anthony Berger tony.berger@vhsa.com.au
Secretary General: Fuminori Kanaya fkanaya@med.u-ryukyu.ac.jp
Treasurer: Alphonsus Chong alfchong@gmail.com
Immediate Past President: Goo Hyun Baek ghbaek@snu.ac.krer
Members at-Large: Michael Boland michael@handsurgeon.co.nz
Norimasa Iwasaki niwasaki@med.hokudai.ac.jp
Sandeep Sebastin sandeepsebastin@gmail.com

Newsletter Editorial Team

Jennifer Green Australia jennifer.green1312@gmail.com
Norimasa Iwasaki Japan niwasaki@med.hokudai.ac.jp
Pankaj Ahire India drahire@hotmail.com
Raymar Sibonga Philippines raymar_sibonga@yahoo.com
Sandeep Sebastin Singapore sandeepsebastin@gmail.com

Contact Us


Alphonsus Chong
Department of Hand &
Reconstructive Microsurgery
National University Hospital
NUHS Tower Block, Level 11
1E Kent Ridge Road
Singapore 119228

Tel: +65 6772 5549
Fax: +65 6772 2358


Sandeep Sebastin
Orthopaedic & Hand Surgery Partners
Gleneagles Hospital
#03-37 Annexe Block
6A Napier Road
Singapore 258500

Tel: +65 6970 7748
Fax: +65 6970 7758