For the past 35 years, Savannah Plastic Surgery has had the privilege of serving Georgia and the surrounding coastal area. Founded in 1980 by E.D. DeLoach, M.D. and Lawrence E. Ruf, M.D., Savannah Plastic Surgery is today one of the largest plastic surgery groups in the Southeast. Our practice includes 7 surgeons, with nearly 200 years of combined experience.
Dr. Ruf recently wrote this reflection of the practice's past, present and bright future.
By Lawrence E. Ruf M.D.
Reflecting back 35 years ago, two strangers met in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to see if they had enough in common to form a partnership for the practice of plastic surgery. One from Valdosta, Georgia and one from Louisville, Kentucky, each had been raised by principled, stern, Christian parents who believed in integrity, dedication, hard work, and persistence. Their young nurse wives were heavily invested in the early days, as they provided clinical and clerical support.
Knowing the three "A"s of starting a practice in those early days, the two surgeons made themselves available to the emergency room staff of all three local hospitals for any problems that might benefit from the most up to date techniques in plastic surgery and hand surgery. They demonstrated their abilities in managing trauma, cancers of various types, congenital (birth) deformities, burns, hand problems of all types, reconstruction of damages and surgically removed tissues, and cosmetic problems. In caring for patients with this wide spectrum of problems, they have tried to remain approachable, always willing to answer questions and teach the resident physicians.
Over the years,these surgeons have introduced new techniques to the Savannah Metropolitan community. Some of these include newer methods of repairing hand fractures, and hand tendons, the 1st tram flap breast reconstruction, 1st Co2 laser resurfacing procedures for facial wrinkles and laxity, the 1st medical skin care institute, and the 1st of its kind skni surface ablation/deep dermis fractionated laser that can be used anywhere on the body without loss of pigmentation. In addition, over the years they have added more board certified plastic surgeons who have brought newer techniques for hands and free tissue flaps, special wound care innovation, and endoscopic procedures for the face, body, and hands.
Not lost on the founding members as well as newer members, is the need for plastic surgery expertise in 3rd world countries. While they continue to do a tremendous amount of gratis work for patients from southeast Georgia and the low country of South Carolina, the medical mission work of the group was launched by one of the founding members in 1996. This continues through the present, thanks to the effort of 3 additional group members, while still more initiatives have been started in other countries.
A joint effect of the two founding members and the Savannah Speech and Hearing Center, the Roy Blackburn Georgia Southeastern Cleft lip and Palate Clinic honors a founding member of the clinic who died tragically, just a few years after the clinic formation. For almost 30 years, it has continued to educate, treat, and help coordinate care of cleft lip and palate patients (and families) under the guidance of one of the founding members of Savannah Plastic Surgery.
Savannah Plastic Surgery, now in their "new" building for past 10 years, remains committed to its basic philosophies. education and service in an atmosphere of knowledge, compassion, and kindness. While the founding members will not be here for the next 35 years, we hope the group will be, and that it will remain true to the basic principles upon which the group was established.