modern plastic surgery
Plastic Surgery

The story of how World War I influenced modern plastic surgery

From top-notch medical procedures to the use of technology to create a sketch of the patient before going under surgery, plastic surgery has been the tool to repair those details people have gotten from accidents, undesirable birthmarks or any part of the body that does not satisfy the beauty standards. All these technological advances could not exist without the influenced The World War I, from rhinoplasty Manchester‌ ‌services through to facelifts in London.

The story of how World War I influenced modern plastic surgery thanks to the innovative idea of Dr. Harold Gillies. Better known as a well-accredited doctor with a noticeable passion for golf and joking around would become a famous pioneer of plastic surgery due to his researches and practices.

Gillies belonged to the first group of physicians to be sent to the battlefield when World War I began. The optimistic doctor was sent to Dublin General Hospital in Wimereux where he met with Charles Valadier, an audacious colleague that was doing his own research about the use of bones and skin as a tool to fix facial wounds which were really common to happen in the trenches.

Thousands of men suffered the struggles of war during the battle. Most of the soldier would come to the hospital with serious medical problems and huge wounds that would leave shocking scars for the war heroes. Motivated by the consequences of World War I, Dr. Gillies decided to move from the front of the battle to Paris. There, Gillies would meet another doctor named Hippolyte Morestin who was running a similar project with the difference that Morestin counted with under control and better surgical area.

With this experience, Gillies returned to England with the idea to start a specialist plastic surgery unit which would help the soldiers to recover their image before going to war. In 1916, Dr. Harold Gillies was able to run his own team located in Aldershot. Ignoring the advices of using synthetic material to work on facial reconstruction by his pairs, Gillies decided to focus more in functionality over appearance creating great innovation in the field of plastic surgery through the use of revolutionary methods that would construct soldiers´ jaw applying skin taken from the patient´s shoulders.

In addition to his research, Dr. Gillies was highly aware of the impact of the psychological trauma from war to soldiers. The physician was careful about his patients´ treatment and responses towards their own physical aspect. Because of it, Dr. Gillies forbade the use of mirrors in the hospital in order to avoid negative reactions from soldiers that could lead to intense attacks of anxiety, demoralization and, in certain cases, suicide.

His methods were recorded over 3,000 patients along with his team with a positive impact on patients under his personal and responsive care. Nowadays, Dr, Harold Gillies is known as “the father” of modern plastic procedures. In 1930, the physician was recognized with the title of knighthood due to his important contribution to the medical field and his innovative methods. His granddaughter Louisa Y. wrote a novel around her grandfather´s job during his time working at the Queen´s Mary Hospital a century later with the goals of showing to the world his greatest ideas and the importance of his researches within the modern plastic surgery.