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History of Facial Plastic Surgery: Moving into Facial Plastics

An ENT, head and neck surgeon who is familiar with parotid surgery, should not find a facelift difficult. Also, one who has practiced osteoplastic frontal flap operations would find forehead lifting a relatively easy task. Therefore, it is a natural progression for otolaryngologists, once they have mastered rhinoplasty to move on to other parts of the face.

Ira Tresley, MD, President, American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 1969-1970, one of the best rhinoplastic surgeons. Otolaryngologists met with a lot of opposition as they tried out their new procedures. Many of them had their privileges from the hospital removed and suffered outright ostracism from the medical community. Jack Anderson scheduled his first rhinoplasties as submucous resections because a good friend and famous plastic surgeon called Neil Owens worked at his hospital. He knew that his friendship with Owens would be threatened if he put his procedure down as a rhinoplasty. Once the nature of Anderson’s work was discovered however, Owens never spoke to Anderson again and their friendship was lost.

Trent Smith, had a booming ENT practice before he decided to concentrate on facial plastic surgery. When he began doing facelifts he hired a young general plastic surgeon, who had just finished his residency to help him. Smith also met with a lot of opposition to his work. Morey Parkes was faced with a lot of resistance when he went on to do blepharoplastics and facelifts. He had no one to teach him and blepharoplastics was the hardest area to break into. Parkes commented that the move into facelifts and other cosmetic procedures was very gradual and sporadic. Anderson and Jesse Fuchs were doing it, other surgeons watched and learned from them, but it was a very gradual procedure.

Oscar Becker, Chicago, was a very accomplished plastic surgeon who was willing to allow others to come and watch his operations. One of his students was Sidney Feuerstein who often flew overnight to arrive at Weiss Memorial at six or seven thirty in the morning to watch Becker work and then listen to them discuss the procedure.

John Conley, head and neck cancer surgeon, was one of the first reputable surgeons to perform facelift surgery.

In the early days, surgeons did not have access to the kinds of seminars and courses that are available today. Despite this they were just as diligent in making the time to share their knowledge and hone their techniques.

Beekhuis explained that he had never done a facelift during his residency. To learn about facelifts he read and studied books about the subject, watched other surgeons performing the procedure, spoke to and questioned people about it and saw their results. Beekhuis found that the development of his skills in facelifts was not difficult, as he had already been working in the head and neck region.21

Nowadays, aesthetic facial procedures are practised by many specialists, including otolaryngologist, plastic surgeon, ophthalmologist, dermatologist and maxillo-facial surgeon. It is widely felt that the practice of facial plastic surgery by these varied communities, despite diverse experience and training, have very much attributed to the advances of the surgical techniques and upgraded the expertise and skills in facial plastic surgery.


History of Facial Plastic Surgery


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