Plastic Surgery during WWI: Before and After Photos Released

Plastic Surgery During WWIPlastic surgery has not always been what it is today; modern plastic surgery has come a long way in the past century. Although the first plastic surgery records date back more than 4,000 years ago, the field of plastic surgery took off in the 19th and 20th centuries due to the need to treat war injuries. Dr. Harold Gillies, a UK surgeon originally from New Zealand who would have been 130 years of age, was at the forefront of repairing soldiers’ faces in France during the First World War. Recently Dr. Gillies’ before and after plastic surgery photos from WWI were released online.

Focusing on his patient’s aesthetics, Gillies performed about 11,000 plastic surgery procedures on more than 2,300 soldiers between 1917 and 1925 with hopes to help them look comparable to their appearance before their injury. Available on the website, descendants of WWI veterans can view a sampling of Gillies’ early work as well as other information about soldiers like their name, rank, and regiment. The records are not available to the general public for privacy purposes, but people who believe their family members were treated by Gillies can search for the photos.

Focusing on reconstructing injured faces Gillies also performed bone, muscle, and skin grafting to restore soldiers’ appearances. In fact, he was among the first surgeons to use a patient’s own tissue for reconstructive surgery.  Considered one of the fathers of modern plastic surgery, Gillies was even knighted in 1930 for his medical contributions. Debra Chatfield of stated, “Without his pioneering developments in this field, plastic surgery might not be as advanced as it is today.”

The highly skilled surgeons of Atlanta Plastic Surgery are dedicated to the ongoing advancement of plastic surgery. As the oldest and most renowned practice in Atlanta, our surgeons are dedicated to providing a variety of cosmetic and reconstructive procedures for the face, breasts, and body. They often attend and speak at national and international plastic surgery meetings. Be sure to visit Atlanta Plastic Surgery’s website to get an idea of what plastic surgery procedures we offer, and check out our surgeons’ before and after photos for a sampling of our work. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to learn more about a specific procedure.