For a lot of plastic surgeons, the myriad of different national, European and international organisations is confusing. We will here explain the difference between the organisations so that the usefulness of membership can be contemplated both by National Societies as well as individual plastic surgeons.
There are basically 3 types of organisations:
- Federations: Associations of National Societies
- Individual member organisations (Scientific Societies)
- Unions (Professional Societies).
Most of them are (International) Non-Profit Organisations (NPO).
Another way of looking at the plastic surgery societies is on their focus; here we see 3 categories:
- Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic or general Societies
- Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
- Subspecialty organisations (rhinoplasty, micro, burns, hand, etc.).
Federations are organisations who want to represent National Societies and support them on European level. They ask a membership fee from the National Societies. This can be a fixed fee or a per member fee.
On European level
ESPRAS (European Society of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery) intends to represent the general National Societies. EASAPS (European Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery Societies) represents all National Aesthetic Societies and General Societies for the aesthetic aspects of our specialty. RBSPS is a member of this association and pays an annual fee.
- On International level
IPRAS used to be the global organisation representing all general societies but after the Zita catastrophe they disappeared and in 2016 a new organisation was formed: ICOPLAST (International Confederation of Plastic Surgery Societies). RBSPS pays an annual contribution per effective member to this association of associations, in part so that our members can benefit from their advantages.
Plastic surgeons generally join their general National Society, in many countries a separate Aesthetic Societies exists, but in Belgium RBSPS represents both the general as the aesthetic society. In some countries there are other individual Member Societies that plastic surgeons can join often focusing on subspecialties such as hand, microsurgery, craniofacial, etc. A membership fee is generally paid by the individual plastic surgeon.
On European level EURAPS (European Association of Plastic Surgeons) focuses on high standard plastic surgery. Plastic surgeons can join once proposed by two full members and after presenting at a EURAPS meeting. ESAPS (European Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery) represents all plastic surgeons with an aesthetic interest and promotes membership of National Societies. All board-certified Plastic Surgeons can join.
In most countries there are two types of plastic surgery organisations: most are Scientific Societies focusing on exchange of information, organising congresses etc. The other type is the so-called professional society they are the doctors equivalent of a Union. This is generally organised for all doctors, with subsections for the different specialties. In Belgium this is VBS/GBS. In Europe this is UEMS (Union Européenne des Médicins Spécialistes). We know them as the organization handing out CME (Continuous Medical Education)-points and organizing the EBOPRAS exams. RBSPS will refund the registration fee for the EBOPRAS exam to those who pass it. EBOPRAS (European Board of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery) is a working group of the subsection UEMS-PRAS.