The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS) will be celebrating it 40th anniversary this summer here in San Francisco. Established to facilitate the sharing of cosmetic plastic surgery knowledge, ISAPS meetings are cutting edge with an international flavor. ISAPS members are worldwide leaders in plastic surgery, and the symposium will include the latest techniques from all around the world.
What Does ISAPS Membership Mean?
ISAPS membership is a privilege. I am proud to be an ISAPS member, one of only 222 in the United States. Membership represents years of training (residency), the successful completion of qualifying and certifying exams (board certification), and active membership in good standing of both American national societies (the ASPS and ASAPS). Membership is by invitation, and I was accepted only after a rigorous evaluation process which thoroughly reviewed my qualifications, capabilities, ethics and commitment to patients safety.
Why do Plastic Surgeons Join Plastic Surgery Societies?
For me, the main reason is patient safety. Professional plastic surgery societies help disseminate information about the latest techniques. The ISAPS is worldwide professional medical society focussed primarily on Aesthetic (Cosmetic) Plastic Surgery. We spend most of our time talking about the best that plastic surgery has to offer, so that as individual physicians, we can offer our patients better results with a shorter recovery. We also review the lesser outcomes to learn how to prevent complications and provide the utmost in patient safety. A professional society is a forum in which I can share my experience and learn from the experience of my peers.
A Brief History of the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
The ISAPS was established on February 12, 1970. To affirm its global nature, the site of inception was the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. Today, the society has 3200 of the world’s best known and respected reconstructive and aesthetic plastic surgeons from 105 countries.
The 30 countries with the largest memberships are:
- United States (347 members)
- Brazil (272 members)
- Mexico (196 members)
- France (151 members)
- Italy (140 members)
- Germany (105 members)
- Japan (100 members)
- Argentina (98 members)
- Australia (92 members)
- Spain (79 members)
- Switzerland (72 members)
- Russian Federation (70 members)
- South Africa (70 members)
- United Kingdom (67 members)
- India (57 members)
- Turkey (57 members)
- Columbia (56 members)
- Belgium (54 members)
- Egypt (50 members)
- Greece (47 members)
- Canada (44 members)
- Chinese Taipei (44 members)
- South Korea (43 members)
- Lebanon (42 members)
- United Arab Emirates (42 members)
- Iran (41 members)
- Peru (41 members)
- Ecuador (35 members)
- Portugal (35 members)
- Thailand (34 members)
The goal of the organization is the sharing of up-to-date and accurate information about the cosmetic side of plastic surgery to both its members and the public.
The Two Sides of Plastic Surgery Remain United
The discipline of Plastic Surgery encompasses both Reconstructive Plastic Surgery and Aesthetic (Cosmetic) Plastic Surgery. The distinctions my seem clean; however, they are difficult to separate. Both halves contribute to the whole of what the practice of Plastic Surgery means.
The ISAPS was the first chapter of the International Confederation of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (ICPRAS). It was important to the founding members that the Aesthetic Society not divide plastic surgery into reconstructive and cosmetic disciplines, but to maintain aesthetic surgery as a specialty within Plastic Surgery. At the time cosmetic plastic surgery was the ugly step-sister, so it took some effort. This guiding principle lives on. The ISAPS maintains the word “Plastic” in its name to convey that its members are specialists in Plastic Surgery. Eventually, the International Society also added Aesthetic to show the inclusive principle was mutual.