Our country - in fact, our world - just recognized the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1 on November 11th. The horrific war resulted in horrific losses, with 16 million people dead and another 21 million people injured.
Toward the end of the war, medical advances allowed doctors to save some people whose injuries would have been fatal just a few years earlier. Shrapnel and shell blasts had caused many facial injuries, but doctors had little experience helping these survivors. Plastic Surgery was not yet a specialty, but was soon to be born.
The most severe facial injuries often left people deformed, with difficulty seeing, breathing, eating or drinking. According to an article on The Conversation, Harold Gillies, a young surgeon from New Zealand, recognized the need for a new specialized medical unit devoted to repairing facial injuries. In 1916, Gillies established Britain's first plastic surgery unit.
According to the article, Gillies described the development of plastic surgery as a "strange new art." Since that time, the art of reconstructive plastic surgery has continued to evolve, allowing many people with injuries, deformities, and other concerns lead normal lives that would not have been possible otherwise.
We're proud of plastic surgery's history, and proud to be part of its future, too.