Facial Plastic Surgery

Subspecialty helps otolaryngology define its boundaries

Written by Robert L. Simons, M.D., FACS and T. Susan Hill

Covering 100 years of history in a few pages for this website, I have learned, is a far different task from covering that same period in the space of an entire book. The book I refer to is Coming of Age: A Twenty-fifth Anniversary of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, which I edited back in 1989 with T. Susan Hill.

For that book, we put the subspecialty under a microscope, digging through mountains of archival material and interviewing dozens of individuals in order to piece together a story that began with modern facial plastic surgery’s emergence in the late nineteenth century and ended with its attaining maturity as otolaryngology’s largest subspecialty. For this paper, the editorial process has been more akin to looking at the subspecialty through a telescope. Regarding the vast sweep of history through that lens, it’s the stars that shine most brightly, those brilliant, farsighted surgeons who attempted the earliest facial plastic procedures, grasped their tremendous potential for patient care, and pushed the boundaries of an old specialty until they naturally extended to embrace this new subspecialty.

In this condensed retelling, then, we hope to bring to life the history of facial plastic surgery by populating these pages with the people who made it happen. For the full story, we invite you to read Coming of Age. We thank the Educational and Research Foundation for the AAFPRS for permission to quote liberally from that book. Thanks also go to two AAFPRS past presidents, Richard T. Farrior and Roger L. Crumley, for additional material supplied for this paper. Finally, appreciation must be expressed to the many surgeons whose actions contributed to the events recorded here. We apologize in advance if, through constraints of space or inadvertent omission, we have failed to acknowledge adequately the contributions of any one of facial plastic surgery’s many significant leaders.

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