To master the art of hand surgery, highly specialized education and training is necessary. Most hand surgeons will have had initial experience in general, orthopedic or plastic surgery, before getting further specialized training in hand surgery.

The Relationship Committee of FESSH is your permanent connection with the other scientific societies in Europe, such as EFORT (orthopedic) and ESPRAS (plastic), where we support the recognition of our specialty and coordinate further training and education in hand surgery. We also promote the importance and value of our specialty within member countries and UEMS, the European Union of Medical Specialists, where hand surgery is currently recognized as an “added qualification”. Quality assurance of educational events is of the highest importance, and jointly with our colleagues from the FESSH Congress Committee, we supervise the accreditation of meetings and courses and set the rules for FESSH endorsement of them. FESSH is also looking outside of Europe, and we connect with national hand societies from all over the world, with one main goal in mind, continuously learning from each other to improve the care we give to our patients.

Frederik Verstreken, Committee ChairFrederik Verstreken was born in Belgium and went to Medical School in Leuven. He had further training in Orthopaedic Surgery in Leuven and the Princess Elisabeth Orthopaedic Hospital in Exeter, UK. Following a Hand and Micro Surgery Fellowship at the Kleinert Institute in Louisville, USA he started working at the AZ Monica Hospital and the University Hospital in Antwerp Belgium in 1999. He obtained the European Board of Hand Surgery (EBHS) diploma in 2011 and became member of the Examination Committee in 2012. He is the president-elect of the Belgian Hand Group and chairman of the FESSH Relationship Committee.

Radek Kebrle is of Czech nationality (CZ) and following training in orthopaedics and hand surgery in the Czech Republic and abroad he currently works in the hand and plastic surgery clinic in Vysoké nad Jizerou (CZ), training center for hand surgery. Here he is responsible for skeletal reconstruction and wrist surgery. He is also working at the orthopaedic department of the Pírkovo Sanatorium in Mladá Boleslav (CZ), where he is doing mostly arthro – endoscopic procedures and hand arthroplasties. He also works as a consultant at the Juvenile arthritis clinic – Medical Faculty of Charles University Prague. He has a special interest in the reconstruction of complex deformities following trauma. He is a board member of the Czech Society for Surgery of the Hand. In 2009 he passed the European Board of Hand Surgery examination as best candidate. In the Relationship Committee he will share different tasks but focus on the relation with hand societies in Eastern European and Asian countries.

Alex Lluch was born in Barcelona, Spain. After his residence period in orthopaedic surgery & trauma in Vall d’Hebron University Hospital (Barcelona) trained in hand & wrist surgery with his mentors Alberto Lluch and Marc Garcia-Elias in Institut Kaplan (Barcelona) combined with frequent formation visits around the world. Currently he is the chief of the Hand & Wrist Unit in Vall d’Hebron University Hospital and co-director of Institut Kaplan. He has a special interest in the painful wrist and carpal instabilities, reason why he has contributed to create, together with Dr. Garcia-Elias, the Wrist Biomechanics Study Group. In the Relationship Committee he will share different tasks, participate in the European Board of Orthopaedics and Traumatology (EBOT) examination and focus on the relation with North and South American countries.



Aurelio Portincasa was born in Italy where he had his medical and plastic surgery training, followed by further fellowships in Vienna, Austria and Atlanta and San Francisco in the USA. He is professor and director of the Unit of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Foggia. He regularly gives presentations at national and international meetings and is the author of over 330 scientific publications. He is the General Secretary of the European Board of Hand Surgery (EBHS), member of the Executive Committee of the European Society of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery (ESPRAS), member of the Examination Committee of the European Board of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery (EBOPRAS) and delegate to the European Union of Medical Specialists (U.E.M.S.) for this society. His function within the Relationship Committee focuses on the relation with ESPRAS and U.E.M.S.

Nicole Schmelzer-Schmied is born in Germany and of Swiss nationality (CH). Following training in orthopaedics, traumatology and hand surgery in Germany and Switzerland, she currently works in the Orthopädie Rosenberg, a team of 16 orthopaedic and hand surgeons in St. Gallen (Switzerland). It has an academic agreement for education and training residents. Here she is responsible for hand, wrist  and elbow surgery. She was an active member of the Hand Trauma Committee and Hand Trauma Accreditation Committee of FESSH. She used to be a board member of the German Society of Hand Surgery (DGH). She has a special interest in arthroscopy and simulation and teaches in this field regularly. Within the Relationship Committee she will focus on collaboration with EWAS and EFORT, being the treasurer of EWAS (European Wrist Arthroscopy Society) and a scientific advisor of EFORT (European Federation of Orthopaedics and Traumatology).

Alistair Phillips was born in the UK and completed his medical training in London. He moved to Devon and Cornwall for his Higher Surgical Training in Trauma & Orthopaedics and now specialises in Major Trauma with a sub specialist interest in the hand, wrist and elbow. He completed Fellowships in the Pulvertaft Hand Unit with his mentors Carlos Heras-Palou and Chris Bainbridge and then University Hospital Southampton, where he now works. He has a special interest in Walant (Wide Awake Local Anaesthesia No Tourniquet) and did further fellowships in Canada to learn more about this evolving technique. He has built the not-for-profit website Walant.Surgery with Don Lalonde to help others adopt Walant. In the relationship committee he will focus on EFORT and the “hand and wrist part” of the European Board of Orthopedics and Traumatology MCQ examination.