ULRICH MENNEN matriculated in Nelspruit, (now Mpumalanga) South Africa(1964), and graduated as a Medical Doctor in 1970 from the University of Pretoria. He worked and studied in Germany, the UK and Canada for a number of years, before qualifying as an Orthopaedic Surgeon in 1980, also at the University of Pretoria. He completed his first doctoral degree (MD Orthopaedics) on bone healing and internal fixation of fractured bones (the 'Parasketetal Clamp-on Plate') in 1983. He was promoted to Professor in the same year in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery of the University of Pretoria. The then Medical University of Southern Africa (MEDUNSA) requested Prof. Mennen to establish and head the Department of Hand- and Microsurgery in 1985. This active department has hosted numerous international Hand Surgeons and has trained surgeons from all disciplines in the art of microsurgery, taught many registrars and hand fellows (local and international) and has been involved in the teaching of thousands of medical students. Presently he has a large private hand surgery practice in Pretoria.
Prof. Mennen has over 200 publications, book chapters and books to his credit, has lectured in 39 countries and visited numerous hand surgery units internationally, some as visiting professor.
He obtained his second doctoral degree (DSc Med) on the 'End-to-Side Nerve Suture technique' in 2007.
He has been on the Executive Council of the South African Society for Surgery of the Hand (SASSH) for 30 years and has been the President of this Society. He still holds the position of Historian of the Society to date.
In 1998 he was elected by the Delegates Council of the International Federation of Societies for Surgery of the Hand (IFSSH) to its Executive Committee, serving on and chairing a number of technical committees. In 2004 he became Secretary-General of this international hand surgery fraternity. In October 2010 he was elected President of the IFSSH and served until 2013. As Immediate Past-President, he he now serves on the Exco of the IFSSH as the Chairman of the Nominating Committee.
As the first editor , Ulrich Mennen launched the "IFSSHezine", the official electronic magazine for the members of the International Federation of Societies for Surgery of the Hand in February 2011. It has more than 10,000 subscribed Hand Surgeons and Hand Therapists.