• 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

"Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another"
- Walter Elliot

This third issue of 'Hands-On' has been challenging to bring to life. With every issue, we appreciate Prof Ulrich Mennen's stupendous achievement in bringing out the IFSSH E-zine, 4 times a year for the past 12 years.

We would like to share with our readers an editorial by Dr Alexander Shin in the 'Techniques in Hand & Upper Extremity Surgery'. He wrote about 'The Paradox of Balance'. In summary, he felt that balance equals mediocrity and that imbalance drives innovation, improvement in patient care, and excellence.

Please support us with articles and photographs. We cannot do this without your help

Happy Reading.

Editorial Team @ Hands-On
Norimasa, Pankaj, Jennifer, Raymar & Sandeep

Message from Our President
S Raja Sabapathy

Moving Forward

When I wrote the President's Message the previous time, the world was in the midst of the pandemic and all of us were grappling to come to terms with the situation. We are better placed now. Travel between many countries has opened up and Hand Surgery work is reaching up to the pre pandemic levels in most centres. What does this all mean to us and the APFSSH as an organization?

First the in-person meetings have started. Though we discovered the power of online meetings in reaching out to the world, over time we have realised that nothing will compensate for the warm fellowship, scientific interactions that happen over a cup of coffee and reinforcement of friendships that occur during an in-person meeting. Your President and our journal editor Sandeep realised this when we were invited speakers of the Bangladesh Society for Surgery of the Hand over the weekend of 14th and 15th of May, 2022. The congress had a registration of 248, almost twice the normal number and a record for the Bangladesh society. Done in an elegant resort hotel on the outskirts of Dhaka, it also made sure that all participants attended the scientific sessions.

The Bangladesh Society chose to honour their pioneer Hand surgeon Prof Ramdev Kairy by creating an eponymous oration in his name and I had the honour of delivering the inaugural oration. Prof Kairy epitomises the characters exhibited by the founders of hand surgery in every country - qualifying well, exploring new avenues to excel, taking the initiative to venture out on some fellowship (Kairy did a fellowship in Singapore) and then working against odds to develop the specialty in the home country. His efforts have borne fruit and Bangladesh now has more Hand Surgery posts in their medical colleges than most countries of similar size.

"Providing training opportunities is the key to the growth of the specialty." Raja Sabapathy

Message from Our President
S Raja Sabapathy

Having been a frequent visitor to Bangladesh and having trained most of their hand surgeons, it was a special moment for me. I chose the topic of how to make a country a ‘super power’ in the specialty. The goal I set for them is to make sure that hand surgery services are made available to all those who need it at the time they need it. Making quality care available and accessible is the challenge and we need more champions like Prof Kairy to overcome the constraints.

Providing training opportunities is the key to the growth of the specialty. Now that the Covid threat is subsiding, at the APFSSH we will plan to start the training fellowships in the region.

Hopefully we should be in a position to start when we meet in Singapore for the 13th APFSSH Congress from the 31st May to 3rd June, 2023. I urge all the hand surgeons in the region to start planning to attend the Singapore congress and work on the presentations from now on. It is your presence and the scientific content that we put in makes everything worthwhile.

Dr Sabapathy delivering the Inaugural Prof RR Kairy Oration of the BDSSH in Dhaka on 14 May 2022

(L-R: BDSSH President, Prof Dr Md Abul Kalam, Prof RR Kairy and Dr S Raja Sabapathy)

Message from Our President
S Raja Sabapathy

We are just a week away from the IFSSH Congress in London. Thankfully it is an inperson meeting. Unfortunately, some of our friends in the Asian Pacific region may not be able to attend in person due to the travel restrictions. The organizing team of David Shewring, Jonathan Hobby and Wee Lam have spared no effort to be inclusive. Just to reach out to our friends in the Asian Pacific region they have put on a hybrid programme. It will be a combination of live and edited recordings of the proceedings of the various sessions spread over many halls. It will be telecast at 6 am London time, so that it is comfortable to view in the Pacific rim region which are most affected by the restrictions. I would urge our friends to join in by registering. Please visit https://ifssh2022.com. The congress is just a few days away, but it needs only a few minutes of your time to register.

I have a special request to all who read this. Please send news and notes of your work and happenings related to your hand society to the editors for inclusion in the newsletter. You could talk about the challenges you face or the subtle wins you make in spreading the specialty. You could send notes on the fellowships and training opportunities available. Or even it could be some pleasant surprises that you have in your day-to-day work. I would end this writing about an incident when we were in Dhaka a fortnight ago.

The organizers of the congress had a lucky dip for all the delegates and the guests faculty also had tokens. The first prize was a sleek Dell laptop. The lucky winner was Sandeep Sebastin, the editor of this newsletter and one of the editors of our Journal of Hand Surgery. There was a lot of discussion in the congress as to how to promote the reading and writing habit amongst the young people during the congress. To provide a nudge, Sandeep handed back his prize of the laptop to the organizers and said that it would be given to the first author of the first accepted original article submitted to the Journal of Hand Surgery (Asia Pacific volume) from Bangladesh from then on. It was received with a lot of appreciation and applause. We are waiting. It sure will happen. We keep making small steps all the time and eventually we will reach our goal of providing quality hand surgery care to all.

S Raja Sabapathy, President, APFSSH


Secretary General' s Brief
Fuminori Kanaya

Onwards Towards a Brighter Future

In 2021, we had a successful biannual APFSSH meeting in Melbourne with Mr Anthony Berger as President. Details of this were seen in our newsletter “Hands-on Volume 1, Issue 2, No. 2. I thought the pandemic of Covid-19 was subsiding in the end of 2021. Unfortunately, we found new types of Covid-19 - BA-1, BA-2 and Xe.

"In spite of Covid-19 pandemic and Russian invasion, APFSSH will keep going on for brighter future." Fuminori Kanaya

We need to wait a little more for face to face communication. The Russian invasion of Ukraine occurred this February. Unfortunately, Japan is the only Asian country having maritime boundaries with Russia besides North Korea. We Japanese need to rethink our national defence on this occasion. I am going to report the summaries of executive council meeting and annual general body meeting held on 5th March 2022.

Report of Executive Council (Ex-Co) Meeting: Mr. Anthony Berger reported progress in the educational committee's efforts towards the Travelling Fellowship and Visiting Professorship initiatives. Expenditure on these educational initiatives were also discussed. Mr Anthony Berger requested convenors of meetings to consider contributing back to APFSSH up to 50% of the profit. Prof Raja Sabapathy complimented Dr Goo-Hyun Baek on his holding the fort for the Journal and Dr Sandeep Sebastin working on the transfers of the platform and continuing with the work.

Report of the 3rd Annual General Meeting: This was held just after Ex-Co meeting. President, Prof Raja Sabapathy, welcomed everyone and minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on 6 February 2021 were confirmed.

APFSSH Newsletter: Newsletter headed by Dr Sandeep Sebastin was timely launched. Member nations have updated their activities in the newsletters.

Secretary General' s Brief
Fuminori Kanaya

Dr Sebastin has requested member nations to update Ms. Bened Thong (Secretariat) on (a) the nation's contact details, (b) members of executive committee of the society and (c) who is the APFSSH delegate when they pay their membership subscription or any changes thereafter. Societies should send updates with photos of their activities and contribution of articles are most welcome.

Review of duly audited Financial Statements for FY2021: The Balance Sheet and Income Statement were presented by Dr Alphonsus Chong and were audited and signed-off by the Honorary Auditors, Dr Ruban Sivanoli and Dr Mark Puhaindran. The balance sheet showed a total current assets balance of SGD12,446.03 and USD68,731.49. The main contribution came from membership subscriptions and others were donations from Societies from the income of their events and advertisements in the Newsletter.

Updates by APFSSH President, Dr Raja Sabapathy: In 2028, IFSSH will be held in Asian Pacific region and Singapore has bid for the IFSSH 2028. IFSSH will be sponsoring USD20,000 for a mid-term course, between 2 major congresses. It must be in a country where the major congresses are not held. This would be an opportunity for Asia Pacific countries. E.g Yr2022 is in London (Europe), Yr2025 is in Washington (North America), Asia Pacific and South American regions are allowed to bid for this. It is a good educational initiative. Australia has bid for it.

Online AGM of the APFSSH (5 March 2022)

Secretary General' s Brief
Fuminori Kanaya

Appointment of Honorary Auditors for FY2022: Dr Mark Puhaindran and Dr Pankaj Ahire agreed to be the Honorary Auditors.

Appointment Members-at-large (MAL) to EXCO: Two Members-at-large (MAL) have been co-opted into the EXCO. They are Dr Clara Wong (Hong Kong) and Dr Ruban Sivanoli (Malaysia). Please welcome them.

13th APFSSH / 9th APFSHT / 8th APWA: Dr Mark Puhaindran presented that the 13th APFSSH Congress / 9th APFSHT Congress / 8th APWA Congress will be held from 31st May to 3rd June 2023 in Singapore. The venue will be at Singapore Expo Max Atria, 15- mins away from Singapore Changi International Airport. The theme is 'Diverse & Inclusive'. Abstract submissions will be open on 22nd July 2022 and closes on 17 Oct 2022. Registration for the Congress will be opened in Jan 2023 with early bird registration closes in April 2023. For registration and enquiries, please visit the meeting website: https://apfssh2023.org or email apfssh2023@icsevents.com

In spite of Covid-19 pandemic and Russian invasion, APFSSH will keep going on towards a brighter future.

Fuminori Kanaya, Secretary General, APFSSH


Update on Our Journal
Sandeep Sebastin

A Challenging Transition

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

As many of you are aware, our journal has moved from Korea. Dr Raja Sabapathy has taken over as editor-in-chief along with a new team of editors that includes Prof. Norimasa Iwasaki (Japan), Prof Hyun Sik Gong (S. Korea), Dr Michael Boland (New Zealand), Dr Praveen Bhardwaj (India) and myself (Singapore), We also moved from We also moved from the Korean manuscript submission site to Editorial Manager.

These changes have resulted in some delays in bringing out the February and April issues. As we move ahead, we are getting better and things should be back on track soon. We have more or less addressed all the pending manuscripts that were accepted and awaiting publication. We would like to thank all authors for their patience and understanding during this period and really appreciate their continued support for our journal. We have made a number of changes that will gradually improve our journal. These include:

  1. Increasing the number of issues per year to six.
  2. Increasing the number of pages per issues to 220-250.
  3. Making case reports and technical notes online only, thus increasing the number of pages available for original articles.
  4. Providing complimentary full text access to case reports and technical notes. Complimentary access requires readers to register at the journal website and registration is free.

The aim of our journal is to guide authors in publishing their research related to Hand Surgery. As long as your manuscript is original and the scientific content adds value to existing literature, we are happy to help with bringing it to print.

Sandeep Sebastin, Editor, JHS-AP


"The aim of our journal is to guide authors in publishing their research related to Hand Surgery." Sandeep Sebastin

Society in the Spotlight - Philippines
Raymar Sibonga

Association of Hand Surgeons of the Philippines (AHSP)

Hand surgery in the Philippines began with two premier orthopaedic institutions: The National Orthopaedic Hospital (now the Philippine Orthopaedic Center) and the Department of Orthopaedics at the Philippine General Hospital, University of the Philippines.

The National Orthopaedic Hospital evolved during the aftermath of World War II in 1945 as an Emergency Hospital-The Civilian Aid Unit I, organized by a Filipino Surgeon-Colonel under the USAFFE Medical Corps. After the post- war emergency period, the emergency hospital was renamed in 1947 as the “National Orthopaedic Hospital” under the Bureau of Health with Dr. JV delos Santos as the first Chief of Hospital.

In 1956, the Hand and Peripheral Nerve Surgery Unit was established at the National Orthopaedic Hospital with Dr. Buenaventura Canto as head and Dr. Eugenio Inocentes Jr. as the senior resident. Three years later, through the efforts of Dr. Canto and Dr. Benjamin Tamesis, Dr. Inocentes was sent to the United Kingdom and India from 1959 to 1960 under the British Colombo Plan Fellowship Grant. Dr. Inocentes rotated under Dr. RG Pulvertaft, Prof. HJ Seddon and Dr. D Brooks in England, Prof. JP James in Scotland, and Prof. PW Brand in India. After his return to the Philippines in 1960, he headed the Hand and Peripheral Surgery Unit

At the other end of the capital city of Manila, the University of the Philippines College of Medicine-Philippine General Hospital (PGH) established in 1952, the Section of Orthopaedics under Dr. Ambrosio Tangco under the Department of Surgery. Dr. Tangco sent a promising surgeon Dr. Jose V. Silao, Jr. for hand surgery training in the USA under Dr. Robert E. Carroll from 1970-71. In June 1971, the Section of Orthopaedics became a separate Department, with Dr. Jose V. Silao, Jr. as first Department Chairman. Dr. Silao formed the different sections of Orthopaedics, which included the Section of Hand Surgery. In 2002, the Section of Hand Surgery established the Microsurgery Service and in 2005, the Microsurgery Service was renamed the Microsurgery Unit-a multidisciplinary unit dedicated to microsurgical reconstruction needs of patients. To this day, the Section of Hand and Reconstructive Surgery of the Department of Orthopaedics, University of the Philippines Manila is the only training institution in the country with a clinical fellowship in hand surgery which started way back in 1995.

Society in the Spotlight - Philippines
Raymar Sibonga

The Philippine Society for Surgery of the Hand (PSSH)

In 1970 Dr. Vicente Pido, a 1962 UST medical graduate, who obtained his orthopaedic residency training at Carney and Boston City General Hospital and his hand training at Massachusetts General Hospital (1969) came back to the Philippines. He also completed a course in microsurgery at the Tokyo Jikej-Kai Hospital under a Takeda Foundation in 1976. In 1985, through his initiative and efforts he met with and was able to convince the hand-trained NOH and UP-PGH staff, to organize a hand society to address the needs of the Filipino people for specialized care of the hand, which after several meetings, was finally established in 1986 as “The Philippine Society for Surgery of the Hand”, now known as the Association of Hand Surgeons of the Philippines (AHSP). The founding officer and members of the society were:

  • Dr. Vicente Pido - President
  • Dr. Eugenio Inocentes, Jr. - Vice president
  • Dr. Luisito Maaño - Secretary-Treasurer
  • Dr. Ida Tacata - Member
  • Dr. Severino Tanboliong - Member
  • Dr. Rimando Saguin - Member
  • Dr. Felix Vicuña - Member
  • Dr. Conrado de Garcia - Member

AHSP Members

Standing (L-R): Dr. Leo Daniel Caro, Dr. Miguel Pagsaligan, Dr. Vicente Castillo, Dr. Lucille Detoyato, Dr. Frederick Montaño, Dr. Eugene Brito, Dr. Lito Gozum, Dr. Luisito R. Maaño, Dr. Ida Tacata, Dr. Giselle Gabriel, Dr. Tristram Montales, Dr. David Alagar, Dr. Nestor Lim, Dr. Lito Bautista, Dr. Noel Carilo

Sitting (L-R): Dr. Emmanuel Estrella, Dr, Ameena Santos, Dr. Peachy Handog, Dr. Nathaniel Orillaza Jr, Dr. John Hubert Pua, Dr. Raymar Sibonga, Dr. Brian Dormitorio, Dr. Jessica Gadionco

Society in the Spotlight - Philippines
Raymar Sibonga

Congress Banquet 11th APFSSH and 7th APFSHT 2017 Meeting in Cebu, Philippines

From then on the society started bi-monthly meetings and occasionally sponsored symposiums with members as lecturers in some regional areas in cooperation with local POA (Philippine Orthopaedic Association) and PCS (Philippine College of Surgeons) groups, aside from having invited foreign guest speakers during POA Annual Conventions. The society is a member of the Asian-Pacific Federation of Societies for Surgery of the Hand.

In November 2017, the AHSP hosted the 11th APFSSH (Asian Pacific Federation of Societies for Surgery of the Hand) in Cebu City, Philippines. This was a historic event for Philippine Hand Surgery since this was the first time that the Philippines hosted an international Hand Congress. Over four hundred participants from 25 countries attended the said event. Leading hand surgeons from the Asia Pacific region and around world shared their expertise in hand and microsurgery.

The following served as President of the AHSP after Dr. Vicente Pido:

  • Dr. Eugenio M. Inocentes, Jr.
  • Dr Severino Tanboliong
  • Dr Ida S. Tacata
  • Dr. Leo Daniel Caro
  • Dr. Ferdie Autea
  • Dr. Lito Gozum
  • Dr. Lito Bautitsa
  • Dr. Nelson Lim
  • Dr. David Alagar
  • Dr. Emmanuel Estrella
  • Dr. Nathaniel Orillaza Jr.
  • Dr. John Hubert Pua (present)

Society in the Spotlight - Philippines
Raymar Sibonga

The society has expanded its membership to 43 hand surgeons from Orthopaedic, General and Plastic Surgery. The Association of Hand Surgeons of the Philippines (AHSP) is the official specialty society, under the Philippine Orthopaedic Association and the Philippine College of Surgeons, composed of specialists, trained and passionate in improving care for the hand and upper limb of the Filipino people. Underrepresented among medical professionals in the country, the association bands together practicing hand specialists in order to foster a community of mutual cooperation and professional development with the ultimate goal of improving patient care.

Post- graduate course for Orthopaedic Resident Training organized by the AHSP.

(L-R) Dr. Ida Tacata, Dr. Lito Bautista, Dr. Lito Gozum, Dr. Leo Daniel Caro, Dr. John Capo, Dr. Nathaniel Orillaza Jr.

Today, the AHSP continues its advocacy to provide proper management for various conditions of the hand with its members across the archipelago. The society also disseminates knowledge through scientific meetings, lectures and workshops to enhance the study and practice of hand and upper limb care in the country. Enhanced by dynamic social media platforms, the society aims to reach and teach the people preventive measures and enhanced health-seeking behaviour in order to prevent loss of function, carry out timely treatment, achieve better outcomes and avoid complications in problems involving the hand.

Raymar Sibonga, Member, AHSP


Executive Body AHSP

President: John Hubert Pua
Vice-President: Eugene Brito
Secretary: Jessica Gandionco
Treasurer: Peachy Handog

JHS-AP Article In-Focus
Michael Boland

In Vitro Comparison between the Pulvertaft Weave and the Modified Core Suture Pulvertaft Weave.
Van Royen K, Quintero JI, Voor M, Muneer M, Bouri F, Muresan C, Tsai TM. J Hand Surg Asian Pac Vol. 2021 Sep;26(3):377-382.

'Complimentary access to full text of this article has been provided by the World Scientific Publishing Co. (Singapore) and requires registration at the journal website. Registration is free.'

This study is an in-vitro analysis of two tendon reconstruction techniques. The first is a more classic version of the Pulvertaft weave technique, whereas the second is a modification to this technique, adding some of the principles of multistrand flexor tendon repair. The results show a significant increase in stiffness, first failure load and ultimate failure load for the core suture weave technique.

Standard Pulvertaft Weave

Modified core suture Pulvertaft weave technique

Having worked with Tsu-Min Tsai as a fellow in Louisville, and used his 4 and 6 strand flexor tendon repair. This is an adaptation, for tendon transfer. The description is of an EIP to EPL transfer. Iinitially, a loop suture is placed in the EIP tendon 1 centimeter proximal to the most proximal part of the EPL. A running suture technique was then used, securing the two tendons at every tendon- tendon interface for a total of 5 times and creating a 2-strand core suture. Finally, the loop was divided, and the 2 ends are sutured with 5 knots. This technique is repeated in the opposite direction using the same pattern, resulting in a four-strand core suture.

The results are impressive with a first failure load of approximately three times greater with the new core technique over the traditional technique. The Ultimate failure was five times greater. This is certainly a step closer to the holy grail of transfer repairs which will allow early mobilisation.

Michael Boland, Editor, JHS-AP


JHS-AP Article In-Focus
Michael Boland

A Comparison of Splint Versus Pinning the Distal Interphalangeal Joint for Acute Closed Tendinous Mallet Injuries.
Nagura S, Suzuki T, Iwamoto T, Matsumura N, Nakamura M, Matsumoto M, Sato KA. J Hand Surg Asian Pac Vol. 2020 Jun;25(2):172-176.

'Complimentary access to full text of this article has been provided by the World Scientific Publishing Co. (Singapore) and requires registration at the journal website. Registration is free.'

This manuscript also provides food for thought. This is from a highly accomplished group in Tokyo. They provide a cohort comparative study between the use of operative pinning and non-operative treatment for Mallet finger injuries. The results suggest the mean extension lag of the DIP joint in the surgical treatment group was significantly better, 2 degrees lag, than it was in the conservative treatment, 13 degrees lag.

Custom made thermoplastic splint

Surgical technique of pinning

The surgical treatment was as follows; All the procedures were performed under digital block anaesthesia with image intensifier control. A 2 to 3 mm longitudinal incision was made on the radial (thumb) or ulnar (index to little finger) side of the distal phalanx. A 1.0 mm oblique K-wire was introduced in retrograde fashion from the radial or ulnar side of the distal phalanx and the DIP joint was fixed in 0 to 20° of extension. The K-wire was passed through the opposite cortex of the middle phalanx. The K-wire was cut short and buried beneath the skin. The wound was sutured with one or two 5-0 nylon.

The K-wire was removed eight weeks postoperatively under digital block anaesthesia, followed by active extension and flexion of the DIP joint. Night splinting was subsequently applied for an additional four to eight weeks. This procedure can be done on an outpatient basis, under digital block, there were no complications, and a significant improvement in outcome.

Michael Boland, Editor, JHS-AP


Diversity in Hand Surgery
Jennifer Green

What is the International Orthopaedic Diversity Alliance (IODA)?

IODA warmly invites all APFSSH Members and trainees (including hand surgeons of all specialties) to join this newly formed network of collective expertise in diversity and inclusion. IODA is an international collaboration of orthopaedic surgeons in leadership, advocating for the inclusion of women and other groups or individuals who are underrepresented in orthopaedic surgery. Our Board of Directors represents orthopaedic surgeons around the globe and is led by Kristy Weber, AAOS Immediate Past President. IODA is driving discussions at orthopaedic meetings.

Our Vision: To champion diversity, equity, and inclusion in orthopaedics worldwide.

Our Mission: A global orthopaedic culture in which everyone can thrive.

IODA Strategic priorities:

  1. Expand the reach of global diversity efforts
  2. Equip IODA members with the knowledge and tools to create and sustain a diverse, inclusive, and equitable environment
  3. Develop a sustainable organisation

Our Activities: In 2022 IODA is hosting symposia at AAOS, EFORT, SICOT, ISAKOS, ICRE (International Conference for Residency Education) in addition to presentations at the Asia Pacific Orthopaedic Association and the national orthopaedic meetings of the Australia/New Zealand, Tunisia and Iraq. Our members are actively promoting diversity in Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Estonia, India, Italy, Malawi, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and many other nations. Please see this link to "Connections', the enewsletter of the Asia Pacific Orthopaedic Association (APOA) promoting Diversity and Inclusion.

In addition, we are hosting 3 webinars, e-publishing the IODA quarterly newsletter, contributing to podcasts, developing resources, increasing our network and working towards our strategic goals.

Diversity in Hand Surgery
Jennifer Green

IODA is honoured to be supported by the Presidents of Orthopaedic Associations around the world and welcome more leaders to join. Leadership is the driver of the 4 most successful diversity strategies - Communicating & embedding values, behaviours & cultural norms; ensuring recruitment & promotion processes are unbiased & a diverse set of decision makers; creating work models that support people with family responsibilities; and a visible and committed leadership. (Bain & Co. and Chief Executive Women, 2011).

The IODA website is a “diversity hub” to connect advocates, promote events, support research & provide resources through our extensive diversity library of publications, webinars, and podcasts. Everyone interested in diversity in orthopaedics is welcome & membership is free. Please enjoy our latest newsletter featuring great stories & initiatives. IODA members hope to be able to contribute to the APFSSH 2023 in Singapore theme “Diverse and Inclusive.” Please follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram or use your mobile phone camera to scan the QR code to go to the IODA website.

Jennifer Green, Australian Hand Society Board Secretary

APFSSH Council Australian Representative


Diversity in Malaysian Hand Surgery
Tunku Sara Ahmad

Hand and Reconstructive Microsurgery is a diverse subspeciality. When I was the president of the Malaysian Orthopaedic Association, we put up a fun session at the annual scientific meeting on which subspeciality was best. An interesting discovery was about what kinds of surgery the different subspecialities do. Many subspecialities just repeat two or three surgeries, over and over. A colleague in joint replacement got a little depressed on realizing this. Of course, the obvious advantage is that the procedure is repeated a multitude of times and perfected.

"If variety is the spice of life, then hand surgeons are blessed." Tunku Sara Ahmad

A hand surgeon, however, needs to practice for a long time to run through the gamut of all the surgery we do, from a simple trigger finger or carpal tunnel release to replantations and brachial plexus reconstructions, wrist surgery, pollicizations and flap surgery just as examples. So, if variety is the spice of life, then hand surgeons are blessed.

In Malaysia, we also notice diversity in the types of patients we see. Both sexes, all ages, the poor factory worker with an amputated digit up to corporate golfers and professional athletes. We see patients who are fit and well, those with chronic renal failure or with bone tumours. The practitioners themselves are also a diverse group. At the present moment we have about 50 active members of the hand society (MSSH) and 10 of them are women. Malaysia itself is a culturally diverse country, and the hand surgery community reflects this as well. We have Malay, Chinese and Indian doctors and other races as well, such as Eurasian and others. It is a colourful country with much rich cultural heritage. From the numbers above we see that women do not make up 50% of our group yet.

Facilities for women with children could be improved both in quality and quantity. Maternity leave is available but to take extended leave one needs to take a temporary pay cut.

Diversity in Malaysian Hand Surgery
Tunku Sara Ahmad

However, the practice of new mothers expressing their breast milk and refrigerating it for later use at home is a widespread one. Separate Muslim prayer rooms for men and women are found in most workplaces, including hospitals and even in the operation theatres. If you enter one of the ladies' prayer rooms, more likely than not, you will hear the whir of a couple of breast pumps. Mums (usually nurses) sit at the side of the rooms leaving the centre for ladies in prayer. Women surgeons in Malaysia take advantage of these facilities, and are welcome, whether they are Muslim or not, as it provides privacy. Some Hospitals including mine have a separate “Nursing rooms” with comfy chairs and lockers for the breast pumps and a fridge to store the milk. In between cases, a surgeon could go to these rooms to offload her milk and store it to bring home. Childcare centres can be set up to help care for a baby while one is at work. Older children could go to kindergartens and early learning centres. These need to be monitored and standards set to avoid injuries and other problems where the centre is not of a high enough standard and the ratio of carers to children is not good. A good centre would put mothers' minds at ease and allow them to concentrate on their careers during the day. This may attract more women into the profession and subspeciality.

I do not think that the male to female ratio should be artificially kept at a certain level. Applicants of a high enough standard should be given the opportunity to enter any orthopaedic field. In fact, we hear that many institutions try and nudge their women orthopaedic surgeons into hand and microsurgery or paediatric orthopaedics on the pretext of a better work life balance. I wonder how operating on replants or cut tendons with open fractures late at night makes for a better work life balance than, say, joint replacement where most work would be done in the day. Even most urgent spine surgery is possible the next morning. If you say (with evidence, of course) that more women are needed in hand surgery or paediatric orthopaedics, due to suitable finesse or temperament then it is a different matter. The bottom line is, that facilities and opportunities should be given to women or men to enter whichever subspeciality they prefer, so that their passion would then make them the best at it and the pool of terrific, driven orthopaedic surgeons would be overall bigger. This would undoubtably be best for patients. I am convinced, that logically this would also save money for hospitals where there would be less complications and more prompt treatments for correct diagnoses. For hand surgery, we should aim for a diverse and committed team managing a wonderfully diverse and fascinating subspeciality.

Tunku Sara Ahmad, Member, Malaysian Society for Surgery of the Hand


News from IFSSH
Marc Garcia Elias

International Federation of Societies for Surgery of the Hand (IFSSH)

In 2016, during the IFSSH Delegates' Council Meeting in Buenos Aires, the British Society for Surgery of the Hand (BSSH) presented the winning bid to host the 15th triennial IFSSH Congress in London. The BSSH joined with its hand therapy colleagues (BAHT) to form a local organising With the assistance and oversight of the IFSSH and IFSHT, the results of their hard work will be seen at the 2022 Congress.

At the time of writing, the IFSSH President, Marc Garcia-Elias, and Secretary-General, Raja Sabapathy, are in London undertaking the final site visit. The preparations are outstanding. In six weeks, after six years of planning, the congress centre will fill with hand surgeons, hand therapists and industry representatives. The atmosphere will be one of excitement and relief: we are joining together as an international hand surgery community for the first time since Berlin (June, 2019) after the unprecedented changes of these past years.

The international level of involvement in this congress is extensive. Whilst the local organising committee is run by the British Society, an International Advisory Panel has been integral with advice and contributions. The symposia and free paper sessions are balanced with speakers from all continents. The travelling fellowship scheme, introduced for this congress by the BSSH, will bring 33 Hand Surgery fellows from worldwide locations to the UK to experience two weeks at British hand surgery centres prior to the congress. Throughout the registration process, the number of countries represented continues to climb. Already we know that over 80 nations will be represented and this figure is still increasing.

Throughout the congress preparations, the presence, support and enthusiasm of our Asian-Pacific members is clear. At the highest level, we will be honoured to receive Professor Gus McGrouther (Singapore) as the Presidential Lecturer. At the Opening Ceremony we will induct five distinguished members of the Asian-Pacific region as IFSSH Pioneers of Hand Surgery.

The IFSSH Delegates' Council includes 16 delegates who represent Asian-Pacific member societies. Amongst the matters to be discussed within the 2022 Council Meeting is the selection of the host society for the 2028 IFSSH Triennial Congress. This Congress will return to the Asian-Pacific region with bids from the Association of Chinese-Speaking Hand Surgeons United and the Singapore Society for Hand Surgery.

News from IFSSH
Marc Garcia Elias

Another decision to be made is the selection of the host society of the inaugural IFSSH Mid-Term Course in Hand Surgery. This will be held in 2023/24 and is to be hosted by either an Asian-Pacific or South American society (as the 2022 Congress is in London and the 2025 Congress in Washington, D.C - therefore all four IFSSH regions are covered). Bids have arrived from the Australian Hand Surgery Society, Bolivian Association of Hand Surgery, Ecuadorian Hand Surgery Society, and Thai Society for Surgery of the Hand, yet again demonstrating the willingness of your region to lead and organise international events.

For the first time in 2022, the IFSSH Executive Committee elections will have specific positions available for regional representation. A review of the bylaws was conducted in 2020 and this included a revision of the composition of the Executive and Nominating Committees. Overall the new structure increases the number of members to allow greater participation, streamlines the succession plan, and introduces five Members-at-Large on a regional basis (two from Europe/Africa to accommodate the large number of societies in this region, one from North/Central America, one from South America, and one from Asia-Pacific). We are excited to have the regions represented in this new IFSSH Executive Committee format.

For the next few weeks, please regularly check the congress website - http://www.ifssh-ifsht2022.com/. It is continually updated with information including the most current congress programme, listings of the congress social events, suggestions for London tourism, and hotel recommendations. Plan your trip and allow plenty of time to reconnect with colleagues from near and far. We are an international federation of hand surgeons and this is our triennial opportunity to be in one place at one time. We look forward to our week in London - one of learning from each other and sharing good company.

Marc Garcia Elias, President, IFSSH


Executive Body IFSSH

President: Marc Garcia Elias
President-Elect: Daniel Nagle
Secretary General: S Raja Sabapathy
Historian: David Warwick
Member-at Large: Jin Bo Tang
Imm. Past President: Zsolt Szabo

Report from APFSHT
Josephine Wong

Updates from Singapore Association for Hand Therapy:13th APFSSH, 9th APFSHT & APWA congress will be held in Singapore on 31st May to 3 June 2023. Planning for congress is well underway! The theme for the meeting is “Diverse & Inclusive”. We are reaching out to therapists from diverse cultures and backgrounds to cover inclusive content. Please contact us (Kris_tong@nuhs.edu.sg) if you are interested to participate as well as to share your experience in the conference. We are looking forward to building new ties and learning from fellow colleagues in this exhilarating event!

Updates from Malaysian Society for Hand Therapist (MSHT):An eventful last quarter of 2021 for MSHT! 30th October 2021: Dr Palani Ramasamy and Mr. Clement Pranchic Zawer shared on surgical and rehabilitation management for Upper Limb Nerve Compression through live webinar. 27th November: 7th AGM was held with their members and new committee was elected 11th to 12th December 2021: MSHT participated in the 2nd Combined ASEAN Hand Society Meeting organized by the Malaysian Society for Surgery of the Hand (MSSH) at Kuala Lumpur. The scientific meeting was held in hybrid format where participants were able to interact face-to-face and virtually. Therapists from ASEAN countries were invited to speak and share their experience in this conference.

Updates from Hong Kong Society for Hand Therapy:To celebrate the memorable moment, Hong Kong Society for Hand Therapy (HKSHT) had launched her 15th Anniversary Annual Symposium on 12 March 2022. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation, the symposium was launched in zoom webinar format. The topic was "Learn from the Past, Look forward to the Future”. A total of 96 participants with hand surgeon, occupational therapist and physiotherapist in background had joined the webinar.

Renowned speakers from the Hong Kong Society for Surgery of the Hand (HKSSH) and HKSHT were invited to share their tactics in hand surgery and rehabilitation. We are honored to have invited the President of HKSSH, Dr. Jeffrey Justin KOO, immediate Past President, Dr. Wing-lim TSE and their hand surgery team to share their expertise in managing various conditions in hand and wrist.

Report from APFSHT
Josephine Wong

Therapist speakers, including ex-chairmen of HKSHT, had contributed in the best rehabilitation strategies in accordance with different surgery techniques shared by surgeon speakers in the symposium. Participants enjoyed very much when Mrs. Alice TSANG-LAU, Mrs. Shelley W. CHOW and Professor Cecilia LI-TSANG, the pioneer hand therapists in Hong Kong, brought us the throwback of the development of splinting program and pressure therapy in Hong Kong, and the advancement of hand therapy from locality to international platform as well as the precious remarks when therapists plan to change their work positions from public hospitals to private practice.

Ms. Josephine Wong, the Chairman of HKSHT, delivered her talk about how a hand therapist’s clinical reasoning and hands-on skills in hand rehabilitation is nurtured from the foundation learning in the Undergraduate Occupational Therapy Programme of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. The symposium was successfully launched with vivid interaction between speakers and participants. We look forward to the annual symposium next year, hoping that all invited speakers and participants can join in person in our next event.

Josephine Wong, Chairperson, HKSHT

Executive Body APFSHT

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

The AHSS board welcomes Jenny Green, Sarah Tolerton and Greg Bain to the board and thanks Claudia Gschwind, Michael Sandow and Cameron Mackay for their contributions to the society as they step off the board. I would also like to thank Jeff Ecker on behalf of the board and the society
Presidential Handover
David McCombe & Jeff Ecke

John Allan Buntine

Frank John Harvey
particularly in his representations on our behalf to the Health Department and our affiliated bodies. This year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Australian Hand Club which subsequently became the Australian Hand Surgery Society. We are grateful to Roland Hicks and all the speakers for convening the session at the recent Annual Scientific Meeting in Port Douglas that commemorated the formation and growth of the AHSS. It is with sadness that we acknowledge the recent passing of two AHSS Past Presidents, Dr John Buntine and Dr Frank Harvey.

We are looking forward to a busy couple of years with conferences combined with BSSH in Sydney next year and a combined meeting with the ASSH in Hawaii in 2024. We have also bid to host an IFSSH instructional course on the Gold Coast in 2023. There will be plenty of opportunities for society members to be involved in all of these events.

David McCombe, President, AHSS

Executive Body AHSS

President: David McCombe
Secretary: Jennifer Green
Treasurer: Ian Hargreaves
Education Committee: Randy Bindra
General Directors: Sarah Tolerton & Gregory Bain
Newsletter Editor: Jennifer Green
Archivist: Roland Hicks

Dreadful period of corona pandemics has restrained all sorts of routine academic activity of BDSSH . Thanks to all my society members, hand surgeon and friends for extending their supportive hand we were able to fulfil the objectives of our society.
National Annual Conferences: 14th Annual conference (9-10 Nov, 2019) was attended by 170 surgeons. The foreign faculty included Josephine Ip (Hong Kong); V Rajaratnam, Anthony Foo, Mannan Muntasir & Sandeep Sebastin (Singapore); Fazal Shariar (UK); and Bhaskaranand Kumar & Arya Roy (India). 15th annual conference (14-15 May, 2022) was attended by 247 surgeons. The overseas faculties were S Raja Sabapathy (India) and Sandeep Sebastin (Singapore). SR Sabapathy was our inaugural “Prof. R. R. Kairy Orator' in honour of our pioneer and our teacher.

CME on Hand Surgery: A zoom conference was held in 2020 where 5 papers were presented and attended by 44 surgeons

AGM: 2019 was held at Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn and Plastic surgery conference Hall on 9 November 2019 and was attended by 22 members. 2022 was held at BRAC CDM Saver on 14 may and was attended by 30 member.

Executive Meeting: Two executive meeting were held on 2019, 2020 (via zoom) and 2022.

International Conference: 5 members attended the 2020 APFSSH conference at Melbourne and presented 7 papers. Zoom based Hand Surgery course held at Ganga Hospital was attended by 24 and 26 member of BDSSH in 2020 and 2021. Two residents were sponsored by BDSSH for each meeting.

Membership Development: The current membership stands at 102.

Sajedur Reza Faruquee, Honorary Secretary, BDSSH

Executive Body BDSSH

President: Md Abul Kalam
Vice-President: Nakul K Datta
Honorary Secretary: Sajedur Reza Faruquee
Treasurer: Krishna Priya Das
Joint Secretary: Md Mohiuddin
Editor: Tanveer Ahmed

ISSH conducted its first ever fully online annual national conference, ISSHCON 2021 from Chennai, under leadership of Prof G Karthikeyan & Dr Ravi Mahajan. With attendance of 400+ delegates, participation of British Society for Surgery of the Hand as Guest Society and seamlessly transmitted scientific content, the event was an astounding success.

After conclusion of ISSH Webinar series with 19 episodes, the academic team led by, ISSH Editor Dr Praveen Bhardwaj took upon the task of video presentation of landmark articles followed by online journal club. ISSH started a Research Wing under leadership of Prof Anil Bhat with a long term aim of cultivating research among ISSH members and even create a platform for technical assistance as well as guidance for publication. Dr Mukund Thatte took over as President of ISSH at the beginning of 2022. He announced the theme for his presidency as ‘Indian Normative Data’. It is an ambitious project being run by institutions and surgeons panned across India. The project is on its schedule and should provide data about normal measurements of various parameters in the upper limb among diverse Indian population. This is likely to set benchmarks for the normal in Indian subcontinent. The project is funded by a grant from the President, Dr Mukund Thatte.

From year 2022, ISSH has instituted a global award titled ‘Emperor Ashoka Award for Excellence in Hand Surgery’. The award has been possible with support of a donation by Dr Somes Guha who is an Indian American Plastic Surgeon. The first award will be given during upcoming ISSHCON 2022 in Jaipur, We welcome you to Rajasthan from 6- 8th October for ISSHCON 2022 to enjoy rich heritage, wildlife and vibrant colours along side academics. The weather promises to be pleasant during that time. ISSH looks forward to the upcoming APFSSH meeting in Singapore in 2023.

Pankaj Ahire, Secretary, ISSH

Executive Body ISSH

President: Mukund Thatte
Vice-President: Santosh Rath
Secretary & Treasurer: Pankaj Ahire
Editor: Praveen Bhardwaj
Historian: Vikas Gupta
Executive Members: Amit Varade, Ajeet Tiwari, Terence Jose Jerome, Sanjay Giri, P Jeyakumar, Satyaswarup Tripathy

Activities in 2021: Due to Covid-19 impact on the country, most of academic activities held in Japan were online basis. Fortunately, we were able to hold the 64th Annual Meeting of the JSSH in Nagasaki on April 22-23, 2021 in a hybrid style (in- person and on-line). We had no guests from foreign countries. They all presented on video. We have 4 travelling fellowship programs with ASSH, HKSSH (Hong Kong), TSSH (Taiwan) and KSSH (Korea) every year. In 2021, all exchange fellowship programs were cancelled. Executive committee meeting was held three times (July 2021, January 2022 and March 2022) in webinar style under the leadership of former president of the JSSH, Prof. Hitoshi Hirata of Nagoya University.

Prof Akinori Sakai, the President of the 65th Annual Meeting of the JSSH in Kitakyushu on April 14-15, 2022
Plans for 2022: We recently held the 65th Annual Meeting of the JSSH in Kitakyushu on April 14-15, 2022 with a hybrid style (in-person and on-line). Fortunately Prof. Kevin Chung and 2 Bunnell fellows (Dr Scott Tintle and Dr John Fowler) attended the meeting from the United States. They can attend the meeting with relaxation of quarantine regulation of Japanese Government at the time of entry in Japan. At the time of the 65th Annual Meeting, new executive committee members were selected to organize next two years. Two Japanese HKSSH-JSSH travelling fellows presented their papers in 2021 HKSSH on-line meeting in March. Hopefully, TSSH and KSSH fellows can attend the meeting in Taiwan and Korea in this autumn. The JSSH has nominated the guest society of American Association of Hand Surgery Annual meeting in Miami, January, 2023. We will plan to hold the 66th Annual Meeting of the JSSH in Tokyo 2023 and welcome all APFSSH members to attend.

Toshiyasu Nakamura, MD, PhD; Norimasa Iwasaki, MD, PhD, President, JSSH

Executive Body JSSH

President: Norimasa Iwasaki, MD, PhD
Vice-President: Keiichiro Nishida, MD, PhD
Vice-President: Hiroshi Furukawa, MD, PhD

Although many local in-person meetings were cancelled due to the COVID-19, the 2021 annual congress of the Korean Society for Surgery of the Hand (KSSH) was held successfully in online and offline hybrid form on 5-6 Nov 2021. At this meeting, we launched a new program called “Young Investigator’s Camp”, in which junior hand surgeons pursuing academic degrees have chances to present their theses and get feedbacks from senior researchers. In addition, an international symposium was held under the title of “Recent Advance in Asian-Pacific Region”, which included interesting and educational talks by recognizable international guests including Tony Berger, Fuminori Kanaya, Sandeep Sebastin, Michael Boland and David Tan.

Senior members of the KSSH at the 2021 Annual Congress
We also had an honor to hear from two of our past presidents: Dr. Seok-Whan Song spoke about his path as a hand surgeon and scientist under the title “Hand Surgeon”, and Dr. Jong-Ik Hwang talked about the role of hand surgeons and their patients in modern Korean history, focusing on young workers who had their hands injured in factories during the times of rapid industrialization.

We are going to have the Annual Combined Symposium of the KSSH and Korean Microsurgery Society, on the theme of “Advances to the New Era after COVID-19” at Busan BEXCO conference center on 28 May, 2022. This is the first on-site meeting after the COVID-19 pandemic break. We are all looking forward to meet our members and have a pleasant time together. The annual congress of the KSSH will take place in Seoul on November 4-5th, which is the time when the fall foliage is at its peak. The leadership will do their best to make this meeting educational and interesting for domestic and international participants. We sincerely hope all members of the APFSSH stay healthy and happy through this difficult time.

Hyun Sik Gong, KSSH National delegate for the APFSSH

Executive Body KSSH

Chairman: Young-Ho Kwon
President: Dae-Gu Son
General Secretary: Hong-Je Kang

In 2021, the Malaysian Society for Surgery of the Hand (MSSH) held two large hybrid events. The first was our annual MSSH Hand meeting held on 25th-27th March 2021. It started with a tendon workshop which was held simultaneously at 5 different locations from the eastern-most part of Malaysia (Hospital Queen Elizabeth in Kota Kinabalu) to UKM and UPM in Kuala Lumpur, UIA Kuantan to the northern-most part of Malaysia (USM Kota Bharu). Each workshop had approximately 20 participants with a total of 100 participants. The next two days was via on-line zoom and was well received with 285 participants ranging from medical officers to physiotherapists.

The second event was the hybrid ASEAN Hand Meeting held from December 10th-12th which was well attended by 164 participants. This was one of the first physical meetings to be held after the COVID-19 pandemic had subsided. Held in Kuala Lumpur Conference Centre, we had on-line zoom sessions with speakers from Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines and Brunei. Highlights included the best free paper award and best poster award. The pre-conference workshop was the WALANT hands-on workshop attended by 23 participants.

Ruban Sivanoli, Member, MSSH

Executive Body MSSH

President: Mohd Iskander Mohd Amin
Vice-President: Jeremy Prakash
Honorary Secretary: Shalimar Abdullah
Honorary Treasurer: Shams Amir
Committee Members: Mohd Sallehuddin, Ruban Sivanoli & Vijay Gopal

Participants and Faculty at the Inaugural Singapore Wrist Nanoscopy Course (8-9 January 2022)
Like many countries across the globe, the past year has been challenging for us. With the gradual relaxing of Covid measures, we were able to host our first in-person wrist arthroscopy course in two years. The 2 day socially distanced cadaveric workshop was held from 8-9 January 2022 and was fully subscribed, receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback.

SSHS continued its tradition of hosting quarterly educational symposia, though adapted to a different setting due to size limitations on in-person gatherings. The society conducted 4 online teaching sessions in 21-22.

  • 3 July 2021: Peripheral Nerve Problems (Tan Tock Seng Hospital)
  • 18 Sept 2021: Congenital Hand (National University Hospital)
  • 30 Oct 2021: Reconstructive Wrist Surgery (Seng Kang Hospital)
  • 19 Mar 2022: Extensor Tendon Reconstruction (Singapore General Hospital)

Upcoming events include a SSHS-BSSH combined meeting that has been postponed from earlier in the year due to restricted travel. Looking ahead to 2023, We hope to welcome everyone to the 13th APFSSH/ 9th APFSHT/8th APWA congress. It will be the largest in-person meeting SSHS has organised in 30 years, and the Society is working tirelessly to ensure its success. Join us in Singapore from 31st May - 3rd June 2023 to enjoy our dynamic scientific program, iconic landmarks, and world class facilities!

Mark Puhaindran, President, SSHS

Executive Body SSHS

President: Mark Puhaindran
Vice-President: Sreedharan Sechachalam
Secretary: Robert Yap
Treasurer: Mala Satku
Editor: Rebecca Lim
Members: Duncan McGrouther and Soumen Das De

News & Events
Sandeep Sebastin

News & Events
Sandeep Sebastin

Our Sponsors


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: Clara Wong clara.wongclara@gmail.com
Michael Boland michael@handsurgeon.co.nz
Norimasa Iwasaki niwasaki@med.hokudai.ac.jp
Ruban Sivanoli rubansivanoli@gmail.com
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


Ms Bened Thong
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
Email: admin@apfssh.net