Indeed there was an ”Association of Specialists for Leg Diseases” in Germany between 1909-1934, temporarily publishing its own journal but with regard to current standards, this organization was more a professional association than a scientific society. Therefore, the majority of authors agree that the Société Française de Phlébologie (SFP) was the world’s first scientific phlebological association.
Raymond Tournay (1893-1981) – who also coined the term ”Phlebology” – and his colleagues founded this association in 1947. The SFP is therefore considered the germ cell of the International Union of Phlebology/ L’Union Internationale de Phlébologie (UIP). Gabriel Delater was the first president of the French association and Raymond Tournay was its general secretary for many years.
The second national association, which was brought to life was the Phlebological Association of Italy in 1953; their founders were Glauco Bassi, Marcello Comel and others.
The third national association was the Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Phlebologie (Germany), which was constituted in Frankfurt/Main; later on, the name was changed to Deutsche Gesellschaft für Phlebologie. In the same year, 1957, the fourth association, the Benelux Society of Phlebology was founded in Eindhoven under the aegis of Hendrik Roelof van der Molen (1907-2001); it represents the countries Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
On March 24, 1959 the UIP was established by these previously existing national associations.
This step was performed following the IV. Journées Internationales de Phlébologie d’Aix-en-Provence in the Castle de Meyrargues. The domicile of the association was in Paris; constitution and approval were carried out according to French law. Pierre Wallois was elected as its first general secretary. In 1959, the German Erich Krieg (1902-1970) was elected first president of the UIP on proposal by Tournay, Comel and van der Molen.
The first UIP World Congress was held in Chambéry in 1960 under the direction of Jean Marmasse and Suzanne Bourgeois. There were visitors joining from many countries outside the founding nations. In the same year, 1960, a phlebological association was constituted in Switzerland (The Swiss Society of Phlebology – SSP); the initiators were, among others, Alfred Bolliger, who was the first president, Hans-Jörg Leu and Karl Sigg (Table 1, 2, 4).
After the second Congress of the International Union of Phlebology in Wiesbaden, Germany, which took place under the direction of Erich Krieg, the time interval between the congresses was reduced from five to only three years. The continuous and rapid development of Phlebology required a more frequent exchange between the scientists.
As early as 1960, the first meeting of a Czech group around Maruška Horáková (1925-2003), Kono pik and others took place. In 1973, the Working Group of Phlebology founded in 1965 in Prague was followed by the Phlebological Section of the Czech Society of Dermatology and Venerology and in 1991 by the Czech Society of Phlebology.
In 1963, Gunnar Bauer, Knud Hæger and colleagues founded the Scandinavian Society for Phlebology which represents the countries Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.
Following the death of the first UIP president, Erich Krieg, in 1970, Hendrik Roe lof van der Molen from the Netherlands was elected his successor.
Already in 1968, the first Latin-American purely phlebologically orientated association, the Sociedad Argentina de flebologia y Linfologia, was brought to life. Eduardo Ayas was its first president and Saul Umansky was elected vice president.
On the occasion of the World Congress in Amsterdam in 1968, this association was acknowledged by the bodies of the UIP. In the seventies of the last century, World Congresses took place in Lucerne (1971), Milan (1974) and Buenos Aires (1977). In 1973, the Société Canadienne de Phlébologie/ Canadian Society of Phlebology was founded by a group of physicians around Gilles Cloutier with the majority of the members being from Quebec.
Peter Conrad from Sydney and William Campell from Brisbane established the Australian & New Zealand Society of Phlebology in 1974. Initially, Brazil, Columbia, and Paraguay were the first South American countries with new associations. In Hungary in 1978, György Rado and colleagues inaugurated the Phlebological Section within the Association for Angiology while, in the same year, Oswald Petter and colleagues set up the Section for Phlebology within the Association for Dermatology in the German Democratic Republic (GDR).