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Early history of the Korean Association of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery
Ann Hepatobiliary Pancreat Surg 2022 Nov;26(4):293-7
Published online November 30, 2022;
Copyright © 2022 The Korean Association of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery.

Sun Whe Kim1,2

1Department of Surgery, Chung-Ang University Gwangmyeong Hospital, Gwangmyeong, Korea,
2Department of Surgery, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
Correspondence to: Sun Whe Kim, MD
Department of Surgery, Chung-Ang University Gwangmyeong Hospital,
110 Deokan-ro, Gwangmyeong 14353, Korea
Tel: +82-2-2610-6639, E-mail:
Received November 7, 2022; Accepted November 11, 2022.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

The Korean Association of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery (KAHBPS) started as a study group, Korean Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery Study Group (KHBPS) in 1992. The official name was changed to the association in 1996 and various events commemorating the foundation’s 20th anniversary were held in 2016. Its senior members’ tremendous contributions and constant efforts have made it possible for KAHBPS to receive the ‘Grand Prize’ awarded by the Korean Academy of Medical Sciences (KAMS) in 2021. This year marks 30 years since KHBPS was established, hence it makes sense for KAHBPS members to reflect on when KAHBPS were has found. Based on the data that I, obtained as the general secretary at its establishment, I have given a brief account of the situation at that time. The founder, Yong-Hyun Park, Professor Emeritus of Seoul National University, supervised the contents.


The first international association in the hepatobiliary and pancreatic field is the International Biliary Association (IBA) [1]. In 1978, George Berci from the United States thought an expert meeting on biliary tract diseases from different countries, regardless of specialty, was necessary. At that time, biliary tract surgery predominated in hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgeries, hence it was titled ‘biliary’. Pursuant to his intentions, the IBA began with a promotion meeting during the American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress held in San Francisco in October 1978. In May 1979, the first IBA conference was held in New Orleans, and Ronald Tompkins of the United States was elected president. The Annual congresses were held until 1993 before the International Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Association (IHPBA) was launched in 1994 [2].

Until the 1950s, biliary tract surgery accounted for the majority of hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgeries in both large and small hospitals. Pancreatic or liver resections and portal hypertension surgeries began to perform, but there were few surgical cases due to high complications and mortality rates. It was only in the 1970s that some experience in hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgery was accumulating. In Europe, Stig Bengmark of Sweden, Leslie Blumgart of England, Henri Bismuth of France, and Rudolf Pichlmayr of Germany opened hepatobiliary and pancreatic centers in each country simultaneously. At that time, Bengmark realized the importance of information exchange and education and recognized the need for a meeting of hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgeons [3]. He also realized that many Asian surgeons had experience with surgery and creative surgical techniques, but had no way to share them. He decided to bridge the gap between East and West and establish a world association. In 1986, 600 members from around world gathered in Lund, Sweden, the first World Congress of HPB Surgery was held, and the World Association of Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Surgery (WAHPBS) was launched. Many Asian also attended and gave presentations [3].

The two societies, IBA (the name changed in 1988 into International Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Association: IHBPA) and WAHPBS, were merged. The first integrated congress was to be held in Boston in 1994 [4,5]. During the consensus process, the names slightly conceded to each other, and they agreed to be the IHPBA. David Carr-Locke, a gastroenterologist from the US, took the first President of IHPBA.

Many Japanese doctors attended the inaugural ceremony of the WAHPBS Congress and presented their research results. Young Japanese surgeons who actively responded to Stig Bengmark’s, founding mission thought there should be an academic meeting in Japan for surgeons specializing in hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgery. In 1988, the meeting found by Tadahiro Takada of Teikyo University. On the one hand, they wanted to learn advanced Western medicine. However, on the other hand, they wanted to make the leading history of Japanese hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgery known to the western world. Initially, the meeting started as ‘Japan Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery Forum' in 1989 and after three years of preparation, the society was founded and established as ‘The Japanese Society of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery’ (JSHBPS) in 1993.

By attending the international conferences including WAHPBS (1986), all surgeons recognized that attending conferences is an excellent opportunity to exchange information and learn from each other. Takada and Tatsuo Yamakawa of Teikyo University, who led the establishment of the Japan Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery Forum, decided to establish a regional international association. Takada gathered representatives from various Asian countries, including Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Philippines, China, India, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Japan. He got the entire agreement and proposed founding the Asian Society of Hepato-Biliary Pancreatic Surgery (ASHBPS).

In 1991, the 1st Congress of ASHBPS was held in Bangkok, Thailand, and Takada was elected as President of ASHBPS and Yamakawa as Secretary General. In the first board meeting, the representatives of the participating Asian countries have appointed, and the executive committee would have formed. At that time, Yong-Hyun Park from Seoul National University was appointing Korea’s representative. In 1993 it was decided to hold the second conference in Taipei, Taiwan. The following year, in October 1992, a board meeting was held in Japan, and it was decided to hold the third congress in 1995 in Seoul. In this business meeting, Hyuck-Sang Lee from Inje University was appointed the 3rd president Congress of ASHBPS held in Seoul.

Since then, the Congress of ASHBPS has been held every two years. At the 2003 Congress held in Chennai, India, ASHBPS accepted the recommendations of the IHPBA and decided to expand to Australia and New Zealand and to represent the region jointly with America Hepatology as the Asian-Pacific Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association (A-PHPBA), American Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association (AHPBA), and European-African Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association (E-AHPBA). The ASHBPS concluded the 8th Manila Conference in 2005, and the 1st A-PHBPA Congress had held in Fukuoka in 2007 (Fig. 1).

Fig 1. Evolution of Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association.

Domestic background

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgery field in Korea was also a period of rapid development. Liver transplantation, major hepatectomy for Klatskin tumor, and laparoscopic surgery were started and there were markedly increased significant cancer surgeries, including hepatectomy and pancreatectomy during this period. Many Korean surgeons went abroad in the 1970s and 1980s, to learn from world authorities.

To take the lead in responding to these evolutional changes, Yong-Hyun Park decided to form an academic meeting of hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgeons to develop the field in Korea. He contributed to the ASHBPS organization and served as a member of the Executive Committee of ASHBPS (1991), and played a decisive role in attracting the 3rd ASHBPS congress to be held in Seoul in 1995.

Founding Korean Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery Study Group

There were 2 groups formed the basis for the establishment of the KHBPS. One was a group that advocated for the Korean Chapter of the WAHPBS. Bengmark has instructed Yong-Hyun Park to establish a National Chapter in Korea and has sent the founding membership certificate to Soo Tae Kim, Seoul National University. The Korean Chapter of WAHPBS was established and Soo Tae Kim assumed that of ‘President’ and Yong-Hyun Park ‘Secretary General’ (Fig. 2). Another is a liver surgery study group, which was organized in 1992 as a small group of about 10 surgeons under the leadership of Hyuck-Sang Lee. This research group was later called ‘the Liver Surgery Research Group’, where active liver surgeons participated. It held monthly meetings to discuss and analyzes cases, motivate each other and make a lot of progress (Fig. 3).

Fig 2. Member list of Korean Chapter of the World Association of Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Surgery (WAHPBS).

Fig 3. Members of Liver Surgery Research Group.

Yong-Hyun Park, who hosted the ASHBPS, invited surgeons from all over the country interested in hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgery, including members of both groups, to the Founding Committee meeting during the Congress of the Korea Surgical Society on November 6, 1992 (Mugunghwa Korean Restaurant, Lotte Hotel, Jamsil, Korea). Although there is no domestic organization to conduct international conferences, a study group should have a setup to promote the conference of ASHBPS until the organizations structure had established. Yong-Hyun Park promoters selected members to participate in the meeting, and 19 surgeons participated. It has decided to call the group until the conditions of society like academic journals, were met. He proposed the formation of an Organizing Committee for the ASHBPS Seoul Congress, with Hyuck-Sang Lee as Chairman, Yong-Hyun Park as Secretary General, and Sun Whe Kim as Secretary (Fig. 4).

Fig 4. 1990s’ photos of Yong-Hyun Park (founder), Hyuck-Sang Lee (president of the 3rd Congress of the Asian Society of Hepato-Biliary Pancreatic Surgery [ASHBPS]), and Soo Tae Kim (1st president of the Korean Association of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery [KAHBPS]).

On February 13 of the following year, the KHBPS held its inaugural conference at the Seoul National University Hospital Auditorium A. At that time, 112 people became members, of whom 56 attended. At a general business meeting held after the academic meeting, Soo Tae Kim from Seoul National University was elected as the 1st president and the group was officially named the ‘Korean Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery Study Group (KHBPS)’. The meeting regulations were discussed. Yong-Hyun Park reported on ASHBPS progress and convening.

KHPBS held an inaugural meeting in February 1993 and immediately applied for recognition as an affiliated society to the Korean Surgical Society (KSS) on March 11. The KSS agreed to it and sent an official letter recommending a hepatobiliary pancreatic surgeons for board examination.


KHBPS academic activities

From February 1993 to the 1995 ASHBPS congress, the KHBPS meeting had held 5 times, and in February 1996, the 6th meeting had held under the theme of KAHBPS. All 6 meetings had held at Seoul National University. Prior to the 3rd Seoul Congress, many Korean doctors participated in the 2nd ASHBPS Conference in Taiwan in 1993, the last IHBPA conference in Hong Kong in 1993, and the 1st IHPBA Congress held in Boston in 1994.

The 2nd KHBPS meeting had held on August 20, 1993 with 40 participants. A total of 9 cases were presented. The 3rd meeting on February 18, 1994, was held with 45 participants, and 11 cases have presented. A general assembly meeting was held, and the rules were finally established and the membership would have increased to 130.

Takada, who chaired the founding of JSHBPS and ASHBPS, participated in the fourth meeting held at Seoul National University Hospital on August 19, 1994, to help revitalize the newly established KHBPS for the success of the ASHBPS Seoul Congress. He accompanied Ken Takasaki and Fujio Hanyu (Tokyo Women’s University Hospital), who at the time were known worldwide for Glissonian approach for liver resection and pancreaticoduodenectomy, respectively. In this respect, the fourth meeting featured lectures by foreign guests for the first time. A symposium on ‘Perioperative Management of Liver Resection’ was also held with two special lectures and 13 free paper presentations.

The 5th meeting was held on February 11, 1995 at Seoul National University Hospital. There were 49 participants, and 17 papers were presented and there was a symposium on ‘the Choledochal cyst’. The fall 1995 canceled academic meeting was scheduled in September of that year to focus all efforts on the scheduled ASHBPS Seoul Congress. In December 1995, after the successful Seoul Congress of ASHBPS, KHBPS changed its title to KAHBPS and applied for Associate Membership approval in the KAMS.

In February 24, 1996, the last meeting under the name KHBPS and the first meeting under the name of KAHBPS had held. At the meeting, ASHBPS Seoul Congress president Hyuck-Sang Lee released a progress report and thanked KHBPS members for their contributions. Later, he was elected as the new president and Hee-Jung Wang was appointed as the general secretary. Officially KAHBPS is recognized as an Associate Member Society by KAMS in April, 1996. The executive committee has made various efforts to become a regular member of KAMS, including the publication of the academic journal, ‘Korean Journal of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery’. As a result, it was accepted as a regular member society in June 2001. The history since March 1996 is well documented in ‘The History of the Development of Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery in Korea’, which was produced to commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Society in 2016 [6].

Holding the 3rd ASHBPS

In October 24, 1992, the ASHBPS Board of Directors, held in Tokyo, Japan, announced the decision to host the 1995 ASHBPS in Seoul. KHBPS actively supported the ASHBPS Seoul Congress. After the inaugural meeting of KHBPS, the Secretary-General of the Congress, Yong-Hyun Park, selected a convention company that had prepared a detailed business plan. In April 1993, the date was set for the 1995 congress as September 28–30, and the Organizing Committee was formed in June (with 29 Organizing Committee members). The first meeting of the Organizing Committee was held immediately after the KHBPS meeting on August 20, 1993 (Fig. 5).

Fig 5. Organizing Committee of the 3rd Congress of the Asian Society of Hepato-Biliary Pancreatic Surgery (ASHBPS) held in Seoul.

The Congress logo and poster had been decided in the Organizing Committee first meeting (Fig. 6). Later, the 2nd Organizing Committee (November 5, 1993) and the 3rd Organizing Committee (February 18, 1994) had held back-to-back to prepare for the Congress.

Fig 6. Announcement poster of the 3rd Congress of the Asian Society of Hepato-Biliary Pancreatic Surgery (ASHBPS).

The logo of KAHBPS did not decide during the KHBPS era. The logo of the ASHBPS Congress have prepared in Seoul, and KAHBPS decided to use the logo of the 3rd ASHBPS Congress as its logo.

In December 1993, many members (28 members) of KHBPS attended the 2nd ASHBPS conference held in Taipei, Taiwan. The approximate number of participants was around 500, totaling 182 presentations. Three years in the making, the 3rd Congress of ASHBPS was finally held from the 27th to the 30th September 1995 at the Lotte Hotel in Sogong-dong. There were 535 participants from 15 countries and 324 presentations, including special programs and general presentations. It is much bigger than the previous Congress (Fig. 7).

Fig 7. Opening ceremony of the 3rd Congress of the Asian Society of Hepato-Biliary Pancreatic Surgery (ASHBPS). Opening address by Congress president Hyuck-Sang Lee.

The successful hosting of the Seoul Congress contributed significantly contributed to the development of KAHBPS into a genuine academic community. It was the starting signal for Korean hepatobiliary pancreatic surgeons to network with foreign surgeons. Furthermore, it had a significant impact on promoting the capabilities of Korea’s medical community and the international society.


The establishment process of the KHBPS as a ‘study group’ is described along with domestic and international backgrounds. Some parts do not match the facts-looking forward to the seniors’ opinions. Birth is described here, and I understand that development requires more than birth. The young surgeons will appreciate the early history of the present KAHBPS, which is growing into a tremendous academic association, and will build on its glorious history in the future.




No potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported.

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