GREPA was founded 1979 by JP Chevrel and a group of friends sharing the desire to promote and improve Abdominal Wall Surgery. The group consisted of surgeons, intensive care specialists, anatomists, radiologists and physiologists whose aims were: "The promotion of abdominal wall surgery, the study of anatomic, physiologic and therapeutic problems related to the pathology of the abdominal wall, the creation of associated groups which will promote research and teaching in this field, and the development of interdisciplinary realations". Jean Loygue was the first president. The first meeting took place in Paris in 1979. For the first 10 years, this group stayed quite private and organised an annual workshop which was held at Paris- Bobigny under the presidency of ist Secretary General, JP Chevrel. GREPA gradually outgrew national boundaries by admitting first Italian surgeons, followed by surgeons from other European countries. As of 1997, the creation of a journal HERNIA, the Journal of Hernia and Abdominal Wall Surgery, official organ of the GREPA and AHS (American Hernia Society), has provided an international diffusion of their scientific work, and those from other foreign societies. In 1998, the name GREPA was changed to European Hernia Society - GREPA.