The first attempts to create in Argentina a Society of Surgery of the Hand, an idea that propitiated in 1950 specialists of Orthopedics and Traumatology, such as Oleaga Alarcón, Orlando Natiello and Jorge Valls among others were not accepted and instead was created in 1953 the Argentine Chapter of Hand Surgery within the Society of Orthopedics and Traumatology. There were many doctors who wanted to found a society of Hand Surgery in Argentina but we encountered strong impediments from the authorities of Orthopedics in the country. Therefore, we decided, to achieve the objective, to go first towards the international possibility and after a few years to found our national society. This is how the South American Society of Hand Surgery (Spanish Speaking) was founded and founded.


The South American Society of Surgery of the Hand (Spanish speaking) was founded on December 9, 1965 in the city of Lima (Peru).


Its existence began to take shape in July of that same year in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) when a group of South American medical enthusiasts who practiced Hand Surgery in our countries, without being grouped in any association of that specialty, attended the First Congress International Surgery of the Hand organized by the Brazilian Society of Surgery of Mao, chaired by Dr. Henrique Bulcao de Morais, which was held in that city. At that time there were specialists in Hand Surgery in the most advanced countries, grouped in their respective societies of the Specialty. In this sense, Brazil was the first South American country that organized this specialty. The aforementioned Congress was very successful and summoned pioneer world figures in this Specialty such as Joseph Boyes (USA), Douglas Savill (Scotland), Erik Moberg (Sweden), Hauho Vainio (Finland), Martin Entin (Canada), Graham Stack ( Great Britain) and other prominent cultists of Hand Surgery.


The South American group of Hand Surgery specialists who attended the Congress lacked, as said, Societies of Hand Surgery in their respective countries. Therefore, he proposed to create an International Society that would nucleate them. The reason for creating an international organization before national societies was the following: in some countries there were very few or no specialists, insufficient numbers to form national societies, instead with an international society that nurtured nine Spanish-speaking South American nations could be to the development of the Specialty and once this was achieved, it would be possible to found the respective national societies. The idea came true during the conference of the SLAOT Congress in Lima (Peru), in December 1965. The Founding Members were (in alphabetical order): Ayala Teodoro Henry (Colombia), Elizalde Eugenio (Peru), Firpo Carlos AN ( Argentina), Jenkin Enrique (Chile), Kamel Edgard (Venezuela) and Zancolli Eduardo (Argentina). During the years 1966 and 1967, the organization of the new Society was worked, a task that was exhausting given the difficulties that appeared to be: the precarious economic means; the difficulty of making transactions in dollars as collection of social quotas, to form the corporate fund, given the restrictions that each member country suffered in exchange matters; the difficulty in obtaining responsible and compliant Delegates in each country; the quarrels and local jealousy of each city or country that hindered the representativeness of those appointed, etc. After this foundation, some national societies were formed in other countries. The Caribbean countries founded another International Society that grouped them, which was a success, considering their geographical distance. In 1967 the Organizing Committee was established and from 1968 to 1970 the First Steering Committee:


President: Dr. Eduardo Zancolli (Argentina)

General Secretary: Dr. Carlos A. N. Firpo (Argentina)

Member: Dr. Teodoro Henry Ayala (Colombia)

Member: Dr. Enrique Jenkin (Chile)


In 1969 we published the first issue of the South American Newsletter of Hand Surgery, which was the official organ of the South American societies of Hand Surgery (Spanish Speaking) and the Brazilian Society of Cirurgia da Mao. Two Spanish-speaking numbers (Volume A) and one of Portuguese-speaking numbers (Volume B) were published per year. The Bulletin appeared regularly until 1973 inclusive. Then the Company moved to Uruguay with its new authorities and the Bulletin was no longer issued. The first National Delegates were: for Bolivia, Dr. Mendoza Requena; for Chile, Dr. E. Jenkin and Dr. Victor Mouat; for Colombia Dr. Orticochea; for Ecuador Dr. J. Ortega; for Paraguay Dr. J. Daniel; for Peru Dr. E. Elizalde; by Uruguay Dr. Bonavita and by Venezuela Dr. E. Kamel.


Multiple teaching activities were carried out: In 1968 the First Joint Congress was held with the Brazilian Society of Cirurgia da Mao in São Paulo, Brazil and the Second Joint Congress was held in 1969 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The First Course of the new society was held in Buenos Aires, directed by Dr. Carlos A. N. Firpo in 1966; The Second Course took place in Santiago, Chile, directed by Dr. E. Jenkin in 1968, this pioneer course in the sister country, Dr. Firpo carrying out the first operation transmitted to the public in that medium, by closed circuit television. The Third Course was developed in Asunción of Paraguay directed by Drs. D. Franco and J. Segovia. The Fourth Course was taught in Arequipa, Peru, directed by Dr. L. Losada and collaborating Drs. E. Jenkin and Carlos A. N. Firpo. Apart from these courses, the National Chapters of some of the member countries met regularly in scientific sessions. In 1970, when the Fifth Anniversary of the South American Society was completed, the First Argentine Conference of Hand Surgery was held in the city of Alta Gracia, Córdoba, coordinated by Dr. Roque Blanco. In Buenos Aires, in 1970, the First Triennial Meeting of the Company was held, established by statute. Delegates from Bolivia, Peru and Venezuela attended. An international Symposium on Spastic Palsy was presented and the authorities were renewed for the period 1970-1973. The new Board of Directors was constituted as follows:


President: Dr. Carlos A. N. Firpo (Argentina)

General Secretary: Dr. Nestor Maquieira (Argentina)

Member: Dr. Lizardo Lozada (Peru)

Member: Dr. Enrique Jenkin (Chile)

The scientific activities and periodic meetings in the respective chapters were maintained as in the previous period and also the Hand Surgery Course conducted by Dr. G. Loda in the city of Santa Fe (Argentina), the Intensive Practical Course for Residents with an Anatomy laboratory in Buenos Aires (Argentina), directed by Drs. J. M. del Sel and Carlos A. N: Firpo; the V Course of Improvement in Hand Surgery in Buenos Aires, directed by Dr. Carlos A. N. Firpo; the Hand Surgery Course in Quito, Ecuador, with the participation of Drs. Oqueli Colindres of El Salvador, Victor Mouat of Chile, Nestor Maquieira and Carlos A. N. Firpo of Argentina.


In 1971, with the efforts of the Society and the knowledge of Dr. Zancolli, supported by Alfred Swanson of Grand Rapids, Michigan, recognition and admission to the International Federation of Societies for Surgery of the Hand


In that same year the Scholarships of the Society were instituted for improvement in Hand Surgery in a recognized Service. The first Scholar was Dr. Oscar Varaona and his Scholarship Director was Dr. Carlos A. N: Firpo. Today Dr. Varaona is a Senior Professor of Orthopedics and Traumatology at the UBA and a leading specialist in Hand Surgery. Through those years, scholarships were awarded to some 15 colleagues in South America. In October 1972, the International Training Course in Hand Surgery was given in La Paz (Bolivia), by Drs. Walter Arteaga Cabrera (Bolivia) and Carlos A. N: Firpo (Argentina). In December of the same year, the Second Argentine Conference of Hand Surgery took place in Mar del Plata (Argentina), coordinating Dr. Jorge Minz. Then Dr. Maquieira with Drs. Zancolli and Firpo taught an Intensive Course for Resident Physicians on Hand Surgery.


On October 7, 1973, in the city of Córdoba (Argentina), the FIRST ARGENTINE CONGRESS OF HAND SURGERY and Second Triennial Meeting were held, under the PRESIDENCY OF DR. CARLOS A. N. FIRPO. During the same the election act was carried out. At that time the Company had 6 Founding Regular Members; 21 Honorary Members; 83 Regular Members; 49 Adherent Members; 12 Non-Resident Adherent Members. In total 171 Members. The new Board of Directors for the period 1973-1976 which constituted as follows:


President: Dr. Guillermo Fossati (Uruguay)

General Secretary: Dr. Aldo Roncagliolo (Uruguay)

Member: Dr. Eleazar Figallo (Venezuela)

Member: Dr. Roque Blanco (Argentina).

Dr. Carlos A. N. Firpo was appointed Delegate of the Society to the International Federation of Societies for Surgery of the Hand.


The last issue of the Bulletins of the South American Society was issued in October 1973. In that year, the Company changed its headquarters and moved to Uruguay. We do not know why the publication of the Bulletin was not continued.


Poster of the First Argentine Congress of Surgery of the Hand, chaired by Dr. Carlos A. N. Firpo.

October 7, 1973. Cordoba, Argentina.


During the mandate of the new Board of Directors (1973-1976) it was decided that the conditions of development and recognition to found the Argentine Society of Hand Surgery were already given. This was done in Comodoro Rivadavia, in 1974, being its first President Eduardo Zancolli and Vice President and President-elect Carlos A. N: Firpo, who was later President in 1976. The South American Society entered a period of deterioration. Dr. Carlos AN Firpo met in the USA with the International Federation of Hand Surgery Societies and told Dr. Swanson that the South American Society was no longer functioning, a period passed until, at the request of Swanson, the Society was reorganized which today bears the name of the South American Federation of Hand Surgery and is made up of 12 countries, the Spanish Speaking and Portuguese Speaking division having disappeared.


The Argentine Society of Surgery of the Hand, then Association, had a great boost with many of the makers of the South American, such as Zancolli, Firpo, Maquieira, Blanco, Loda, Sanguinetti, Aponte, Miter, Dabbah, Illarramendi, Allende, Penner, Poitevin, Varaona and others. Periodic meetings, Congresses, courses, Specialist diploma, etc. were held.


Both societies, Argentina and the Ex-South American, now Federation, continued to progress and grow. Today they are an undeniable reality with facilities, capital and many partners. The struggles, hardships and misunderstandings of the 50s, 60s and 70s overcome by the push of a few pioneers who put everything, including financial support, to achieve what was achieved were far away.


Prof. Dr. Carlos A. N. Firpo


Founding Member and Former President.