History of Swedish Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery

40 years of good work.                           

Research: Fredrik Gewalli and Igor Niechajev


Swedish Society of Esthetic Plastic Surgery ( Svensk Förening för Estetisk Plastikkirurgi -SFEP) was founded in summer of 1983,  as a section within Swedish Society of Plastic Surgery (establ. 1947)  and is one of the participating societies in the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS) Global Aliance. The trigger to form SFEP was the first international aesthetic event in Scandinavia, XX Post Graduate Course by ISAPS in Uppsala in March 1983. The Course director was President of ISAPS Ulrich Hinderer and we met most of actual celebrities in plastic surgery. At that time, Swedish plastic surgeons faced an increased demand from the general public and mass media for information and services. It was important to organize education in aesthetic surgery for the younger members of Swedish Society of Plastic Surgery and to have an influence on legislation. The feeling was that we should have our national society devoted to the aesthetic plastic surgery too.

The six founding members: Lennart Bartholdsson, Carl-Evert Jonsson, Bengt Pontén, Jan Olof Strömbeck and Lars Uddströmer met at the Arlanda airport and wrote the draft for the statue of the society. Strömbeck became its first Chairman. The formation of SFEP was met with the criticism from several important members in Swedish Society of Plastic Surgery, which was difficult to understand. In Sweden, at that time, esthetic plastic surgery was performed only by the senior academic plastic surgeons on the part-time basis. One who started doing private operations before he became consultant and defended his Ph.D. was asked to pack his trunk.


In the mid-eighties the demand for aesthetic surgery in Sweden and world-wide was raising, but only a few new openings per year in the hospitals were available for the younger specialists. There were no private clinics to join and Sweden was not within the European common job market yet. Therefore some of them, more energetic and entrepreneurial opened free-standing clinics, mini-hospitals for aesthetic plastic surgery. They formed their own Club and during the years 1990-91-92 three live-surgery symposia featuring operations by the international celebrity surgeons, were organized by the Lidingö-Kliniken. Among them were Rodolphe  Meyer, Ulrich Kesselring, Yves-Gerard Illouz, Jan Olof Strömbeck, Gilbert Aiach, Howard Gordon, Bengt Johanson  and Hilton Becker just to mention a few,  who shared with us their knowledge and experience.

The monopoly   for “the real knowledge and skills” held by the university doctors was broken and even the full-time practitioners were allowed to join SFEP and gradually gained over the majority in this society. The membership increased during the nineties to about 50 surgeons and yearly meetings with invited international speakers were held.  Initially our meetings focused on the one topic at the time, such as face-lift, rhinoplasty or abdominoplasty, but gradually evolved to encompass the wider spectrum of our subspecialty. Standing contributors to the programs at our meetings at that time were, and mostly still are, Jan Bertil Wieslander, Igor Niechajev, Per Hedén,  Jan Jernbeck  and Carl-Åke Troilius. Christer Lindkvist must also be commended for leading our society for an unprecedented period of 11 years 1992-2003.  Our members at Akademikliniken organize since 2002 yearly, and nowadays prestigious, international meeting in Stockholm “Beauty through science“. Per Hedén is its President and the faculty assembles each year crème de la crème of plastic surgery.

Today SFEP has 81 active members and our Board has 4 members  and employs part-time secretary. An expert on IT issues is associated with the Board.

Our members has also served as the Committee Chairman in the Board of ISAPS:  Educational Council Committee (Troilius), Finance Committee and Foreign Relations Committee (Niechajev).

Ever changing world brings the new challenges to be faced by our society. The education, initially planned for the surgeons, must now include the general public, politicians, legislators, patients and the media. Another tasks of the Board are the legal and economic issues caused by the introduction of VAT on cosmetic operations and treatments in 2015 and participation in ISAPS work on the new European standards for aesthetic surgery services, important for the improvement of patient safety.

SFEP initiated in 2014 creation of Swedish Breast Implant Registry BRIMP guided from the beginning by Birgit Stark, who like Atlas holding the sky on his shoulders, did alone all the work keeping the registry going, until the 2022 when Martin Halle took over. The compliance of members is high and it is already possible to make analysis of the several outcome parameters. The results are reported at yearly SFEP and EASAPS meetings, and we expect other countries to follow and create their own registry, which is certainly not easy.

Our Society was involved in dealing with PIP breast implants disaster. Four thousand women in Sweden were implanted with PIP and we had to face patients, media and even courts. The ALCL is another upcoming issue, actual now for every meeting we attend, and the SFEP is helping members for giving correct information for the patients and media and to report suspect incidence.

During the last years SFEP have been conducting pooling on various patient safety issues, with the help of a questionnaire filled out by the members. The results were analyzed and discussed at SFEP yearly meetings and the guidelines were worked out with a panel of experts. The following topics were covered:

Antibiotic prophylaxis

Thrombosis prophylaxis

Recommendations for combination procedures

How to avoid unhappy patients


Sfep meetings provide forum for important social interaction with the colleagues, and opportunity to personally speak with peers during the scientific proceedings and at lunches and dinners. During the coffee breaks we can meet with the old and new friends are familiarize ourselves with the new products presented by our sponsors.


It is not easy to become member of SFEP. The Society is proud of its achievements and every member should be proud to be the part of this Society.


Consider visiting Sweden in September and join our next meeting. We like foreigners. Precise dates can be seen on our website: www.sfep.se



  1. Bengt Pontén Jubileums Krönika. Svensk Plastikkirurgisk Förening 1947-1997. Gotab, Stockholm, 1997, Pp. 1-120.


Chairmans of  SFEP in chronologic order

Jan-Olof Strömbäck 83 – 84, 84 – 85

Erik Engdahl         85 – 86, 86 – 87

Björn Nordzell      87 – 88, 88 – 89, 89 – 90

Jan Lilja                 90 – 91, 91 – 92

Christer Lindqvist   92 – 93, 93 – 94, 94 – 95, 95 – 96, 96 – 97, 97 – 98, 98 – 99, 99 – 00, 00 – 01, 01 – 02, 02 – 03

Michael Olenius     03 – 04, 04 – 05, 05 – 06,

Hans Holmström    06 – 07, 07 – 08,

Dan Fagrell             08 – 09, 09 – 10,

Ulf Samuelson       10 – 11, 11 – 12, 12 – 13

Birgit Stark            13 – 14, 14 – 15, 15 – 16

Fredrik Gewalli     16 – 17, 17 – 18, 18 – 19, 19 – 20, 20 – 21

Richard Levin        21 – 22, 22 – 23, 23 – 24


Honorary members:

1992       Göran Eriksson            



2002      Bruce Connell                 



2007     Jan Olof Strömbäck       


2017     Hans Holmström              



2020     Per Hedén                        


2023     Igor Niechajev                 


Research: Fredrik Gewalli and Igor Niechajev

November 23, 2023