The Philippine Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (PAPRAS), recognized by both the Philippine Medical Association and the Philippine College of Surgeons as the only specialty society for Plastic Surgery in the country, had its humble beginnings on March 22, 1961. Eight renowned Plastic Surgeons, many of whom had obtained fellowship training in Plastic Surgery from the United States and Europe, banded together and established the society with the modest mission of maintaining the standards of teaching and practice of Plastic Surgery in the Philippines. The eight, namely Drs. Bienvenido R. Dino, Ponciano D. Manalo, Clemente O. Sta. Romana, Angel G. Agbulos, Jesus G. Lizardo, Jaime E. Laico, Asterio Belmonte and Teodoro J. Luna, were mostly absorbed as professors and consultants in various university, military and private hospitals in Manila upon their return from training.
In 1971, after ten years of existence, the society approved the creation of the Philippine Board of Plastic Surgery to underscore its commitment to pursue and sustain the practice of Plastic Surgery in the country and at the same time establish the measures for professional and technical competence in Plastic Surgery. The birth of the first Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery residency training program in the country soon followed in 1973, and this was organized by Dr. Ponciano D. Manalo who was then Chief of the Section of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the UP-PGH Medical Center. The training program was patterned after the straight residency training programs in the United States, consisting then of two years of general surgery followed by two years of Plastic Surgery training (at present, this straight program at UP-PGH consists of 3 years of general surgery followed by 3 years of Plastic Surgery training). The program was initially complemented by a consultant staff of 3, whose members had finished regular and accredited residency training programs in Plastic Surgery in the United States. The first graduate of the program was Dr. Florencio Q. Lucero, a former President of PAPRAS.
In the 1980s, the PAPRAS itself saw the need for producing more well-trained and qualified Plastic Surgeons. The second residency training program in Plastic Surgery was formally established by the society in 1981, and was formed thru a consortium participated in by 4 big hospitals in Manila, namely, Makati Medical Center, Rizal Medical Center, UERMMC and Veterans Memorial Hospital. In the program aptly named Consortium I, each of the four institutions sponsored a Plastic Surgery trainee who had previously finished 4-5 years of general surgery who was then exposed to a good number and variety of Plastic Surgery cases in all the 4 hospitals for a period of 3 more years. The country's third formal residency training program in Plastic Surgery was then established in UST in 1982, consisting then of a 2-year program in Plastic Surgery following a prerequisite of at least 4 years of general surgery training. This program is presently a straight 6-year Plastic Surgery training program.The success of the Consortium I program led to the formation of the country's fourth formal residency training program in Plastic Surgery, the Consortium II, in 1995. Also sponsored by the PAPRAS and patterned after Consortium I, this consortium was participated in initially by St. Luke's Medical Center, St. Martin de Porres Hospital and FEU Hospital. In 2001, St. Martin de Porres Hospital was replaced by the Lourdes Hospital and the Jose Reyes Medical Center.
Since the founding of PAPRAS 49 years ago, the society now has a current membership of 129, broken down as follows: 77 active fellows, 12 diplomates, 25 graduates, and 15 residents. Approximately 90% of its members have chosen to stay in the country to practice Plastic Surgery, of which about 75% are presently in Metro Manila. Other members have chosen to practice in major cities like Batangas, Lucena, Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Angeles, Cabanatuan, Dagupan, La Union and Baguio.
The PAPRAS has become more active and relevant in recent years, owing to the demand for fully-trained and board-certified plastic surgeons to meet the growing trends in the fields of aesthetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. But aside from strengthening its training and continuous surgical education programs for its residents and members, the society has rightfully assumed its role as the key opinion leader as far as cosmetic and reconstructive surgery issues in the country are concerned, disseminating relevant information to the public thru print and broadcast media. It has also continued to serve the underserved public sectors both here and abroad thru its numerous plastic surgical missions and outreach programs. The PAPRAS has likewise stamped its class in the international front thru its members who have either been actively participating in international meetings or have become active in international organizations. It has also gained international recognition by hosting a number of successful international congresses over the years, the latest being the 11th International Congress of the Oriental Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery held in Cebu City in November 2008. In March 2012, the society shall be hosting the 16th ASEAN Congress of Plastic Surgery in Boracay, Aklan.As PAPRAS looks forward to its 50th year come 2011, its colleagues, patients, and the public can be assured that the society will continue to uphold the mission set by its 8 founders - that of maintaining and elevating the standards of teaching and practice of Plastic Surgery in the Philippines. Through this, the society hopes to maintain its relevance to the ever-changing needs of both the Filipino and international populace.