In June 2-4 1993, Dr. Gøran Claes and Dr. Christer Drott organized an international Symposium on „Thoracoscopic Sympathicotomy“, held in Borås, Sweden . Prof. Hederman from Ireland and Prof. Adar from Israel delivered invited lectures, sharing their vast experience on the subject of upper thoracic sympathectomy with the participants. Four years later, in 1997, a second Symposium was held in the same center, attracting an increasing number of surgeons with a special interest in the subject of sympathetic surgery from more than 20 countries. Both meetings were preceded by a clinical course in which the organizers performed several thoracoscopic sympathicotomies, to demonstrate their method of sympathetic ablation.
The third Symposium was organized by Prof. Ueyama and hold in Kanazawa , Japan , in 1999. With this meeting, the international character of the symposia was firmly established as well as the informal schedule of holding a meeting every second year. In private conversations, a group of participants decided upon the establishment of an International Society of Sympathetic Surgery. For that purpose, a meeting was called in Israel in 2000, in which Drs. Claes, Drott and Hashmonai prepared a draft of byelaws for the Society. During the fourth Symposium held in Tampere , Finland , in 2001 under the chairmanship of Dr. Telaranta, the International Society of Sympathetic Surgery was formally established. The participants elected the first Board of the Society which included Dr. Drott as President, Prof. Hashmonai as Secretary, and Drs. Telaranta, CC Lin and Schick as members at large. Mr. A. Cameron was invited to informally join the Board, later ratified to be a full Board member. The Board met in 2002 in Erlangen , Germany
The fifth Symposium was held in Erlangen , Germany in the spring of 2003 organized by Dr. Christoph Schick. At this meeting the bylaws of the Society were finally adopted and approved by the members. The Executive Board of the Society was re-elected for an additional period of two years. Regrettably, the next year, Dr. Drott (who with Dr. Claes was the founder of the ISSS), resigned from the presidency. The Board met in Vienna , in 2004 and according to the byelaws, confirmed Prof. Hashmonai’s assuming the Presidency. Mr. Cameron assumed the position of Secretary. The preparations for the sixth Symposium were examined; other business of the Board included preparing a standardized symptom questionnaire and operative nomenclature to increase consistency in reports at the symposia. These lists were adopted by the delegates to the sixth Symposium, chaired by Dr. Bischof and held in Vienna in 2005. At the same meeting, the byelaws were finally adopted. Brazil was chosen as the venue for the seventh Symposium. The new elected Board included Prof. Hashmonai as President, Mr. Cameron as Secretary, Dr. Schick as Treasurer, and Drs. Bischof from Austria and Moon from South Korea as members at large and Dr. Ribas M ilanez de Campos representing the organizers of the 2007 meeting. At the most recent meeting of the Board held in Ipswich , UK , in 2006, the establishment of a web site of the Society was finalized. This site includes information about the Society (history, byelaws, and aims), the questionnaire suggested to investigators for collection of data, the accepted nomenclature to be used, and information concerning the next Symposium. It is hoped to be an expanding resource for ISSS members.
The Society is still in its infancy but the board hopes that its membership and relevance can only increase with time.