Plastic surgery – the name implies an artificial substance – but it is derived from the Greek word “Plastikos” which means to mold or to give form. An important specialty has been taking shape, one that reshapes the lives of patients. So who was the first plastic surgeon?
John Staige Davis was the first plastic surgeon. He played an important role not only at his council group in Hopkins but also in the United States in the plastic surgery. He limited his practice in the field of plastic surgery in those times. He was the only plastic surgeon who was there when World War I took place.
In 1991, Dr. Davis published the first English language textbook of plastic surgery and it is still used today. He sends copies to medical school founder, doctors and at that time no one acknowledged receiving it. And though plastic surgery at Hopkins would not gain the standard they deserved until the next century, Dr. Davis was helping to build the foundation for the entire discipline of plastic surgery in America.
He used to pioneer the transferring tissue techniques known as “Z- plasty” and the use of small deep grafts to heal chronic wounds. He was the founding member of The American Board of Surgery and The American Board of Plastic surgery. Dr. Davis’s work and reputation starts Hopkins on its way to becoming a crossroad and destination for the country’s best plastic surgeons.
In 1942, John Staige Davis was part-time faculty member and was running a plastic clinic even though he was in his 70s by then and beyond his retirement age, two years from then a forth year medical student at Hopkins had the chance observe the master surgeon doing a cleft lip repair.
His successor Dr. Edgerton graduates and proceeds to work by joining the army and was serving at Valley Forge General Hospital in Pennsylvania. He was one of the few surgeon treating thousands of men coming back from combat with disfiguring wounds and burns needing plastic surgery. This horrendous war injuries united skill surgeon in their desire to heal wounded soldiers. This dynamic gave raise to a new and important speciality in medicine.
With the scientific foundation and tissue regeneration, transplantation, and stem cell biology plastic surgery is uniquely poised to make the next major advance in medicine. By regenerating or replacing missing body parts, plastic surgery can transform patients life in ways that could not have been imagined only recently.
John Staige Davis didn’t lived to see plastic surgery receive the recognition and support if required and deserved in the world. But his path-breaking work and clear vision allowed a greater dream to be realized.