PRASIS Profile picture
11 Nov, 17 tweets, 11 min read
On #ArmisticeDay we also recognise and honour the service of military surgeons, whose dedication pioneered major advancements in #medicine, and improved outcomes for veterans.

A thread about #PlasticSurgery and its origins on the battlefield

🪡🧵 Image
Never before #WWI had conflict brought such mass devastation in terms of death and injury: 37M military and civilian casualties. 16M dead and 21M wounded.

Image: the Western Front during WWI, generations of trenches & thousands of craters from mortars, artillery & detonations. Image
During 4 years of #WWI, military surgeons developed new techniques on the battlefield and in supporting hospitals.

In the war’s final 2 years, their work resulted in more survivors of injuries that would have previously proved mortal. Image
The majority of injuries were caused by shell blasts and shrapnel, and many severely affected the face.

Historically, little had been attempted to treat survivors left with major facial deformities that substantially impaired their vision, breathing, or the ability to eat/drink. Image
Harold Gillies, an ENT surgeon from NZ working on the Western Front recognised the need for specialised work to repair the ravages of facial injuries.

On returning to England, Gillies set up a ward for facial wounds at the Military Hospital in Aldershot.

Image via @QMHistory Image
At this time, military medical leadership were recognising the benefit of treatment centres for specific injuries & wounds (eg. neurosurgical, orthopaedics)

By 1916, Gillies had convinced medical chiefs of the need for a dedicated hospital for the treatment of facial injuries. Image
After touring base hospitals in France to seek out suitable patients, Gillies returned, expecting ~200 individuals – but the opening of the unit coincided with the start of the #Somme offensive in 1916, resulting in over 2,000 patients with facial injuries sent to #Aldershot. Image
Among the first patients to be treated was Walter Yeo, gunnery warrant officer on the HMS Warspite, who’d sustained facial injuries during the Battle of Jutland in 1916 - including the loss of his upper and lower eyelids. Image
Yeo was among the first to be treated with a newly developed #ReconstructiveSurgery technique called a tube pedicle that produced a “mask” of skin grafted across his face and eyes, producing new eyelids.

Thanks to Gillies’ innovative surgical interventions, Yeo lived to be 70. Image
Gillies went on to perform similar #ReconstructiveSurgery procedures on thousands of other wounded patients.

Image: Facsimile of a wax teaching model demonstrating facial reconstruction methods, c1917 courtesy @NAM_London… Image
Vast numbers of wounded highlighted a need for larger facilities for surgical & post-op treatment as well as rehab & space to accommodate the different specialities involved in pt care.

Gillies played a key role in designing a specialist unit at Queen Mary’s Hospital in Sidcup. Image
Queen Mary’s Hospital, Sidcup, opened in 1917, with wards, operating theatres, X-ray and pathology departments, and featured a dental workshop and rehabilitation facilities on the grounds.

Remarkably, the effort was funded almost exclusively by private donations. Image
Patients at Sidcup had access to many specialised services to support their recovery - from occupational therapies and business studies to enjoying the benefits of sport.

Here, we see the members of the 1921/22 Sidcup patients’ football team. Image
In 2018, to commemorate the #ArmisticeDay centenary, @RCSnews & @BAPRASvoice presented a collection of images and artefacts documenting the history of #PlasticSurgery

Read more about the incredible work of pioneering surgeons like Gillies & his team:… Image
Sir Harold Delf Gillies was knighted in 1930, and he is widely regarded as the father of #PlasticSurgery.

For a deeper dive into this fascinating surgeon’s history, we recommend reading Gillies Archivist Dr Andrew Bamji FRCP’s profile, via @BAPRASvoice… Image
We hope you enjoyed this thread - read more about the development of facial surgery from Dr Bamji via @PMFAJournal ➡️…

We close with a 1917 Christmas postcard of the Queen’s Hospital, Sidcup - a fascinating artefact from #PlasticSurgery history.

/END Image

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with PRASIS

PRASIS Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!