Before the world war one, the battle injuries were from sword cuts or small arms fire. Also, the facial injuries did not matter much to the soldiers because they felt lucky to have survived the war. However, heavy artillery was put to use during the time of world war. This heavy artillery caused a lot of damage to the soldiers. Thus, plastic surgery was introduced after the war.
How Plastic Surgery Came In Action?
Harold Gillies was a surgeon from New Zealand. He set up a ward for facial wounds on seeing the after-effects of the new style of war. The department was set up at Cambridge Military Hospital. Further, the hospital aimed to reconstruct the faces of people after the war since many people were scared that their family or friends will not recognize them due to their disfigured face.
Harold Gillies was aware of the art of skin grafts. Also, he knew that the healthy tissue needs to be moved back to its position to reconstruct the face. Further, the work was done on the bones first and then the reconstruction of soft tissues.
He also sent his work profile to other hospitals so that doctors could send patients directly to him who require surgery.
The primary step in skin grafting was to lift the skin near the wound and cover the injury with the skin. Also, it is essential to maintain a connection with the donor site. Since it will help in the circulation of blood to the tissues. Moreover, the technique used by him was termed as tube pedicle skin-grafting.
Also, the first patient to get the treatment was Walter Yeo. He got injuries on face during the battle of Jutland in 1916. The damage was so fatal that he lost his upper and lower eyelids. Thus, with the help of the surgery, a mask was built around his face, which produced the eyelids. Harold performed these surgeries on several other patients.
Further, every detail of the surgery and its outcome was recorded in detail. The details were logged to share knowledge with other countries as well.
However, due to world war, one thousand people suffered from long term disabilities. Therefore, the improvements made in the field of facial surgery brought relief to people. But many people were not able to get the operations done due to lack of funds. Therefore, they depend upon the government for financial support.
Moreover, Harold noticed that many people who got surgeries were treated differently by people. Mainly, it was getting difficult for them to get jobs. Therefore, he introduced training classes for his patients to instill various skills in them.
Also, the patients responded in many different ways towards the treatment. Many people accepted their new face and went home with joy. However, some people never left the hospital. Those people were afraid of the new world and were in a dilemma if they will be accepted in society or not.
However, Gillies is recognized as the father of plastic surgery. Moreover, his ways are still used in modern techniques of plastic surgery.