Harold Gillies Plastic Surgery Archives From WW1

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The Gillies Plastic Surgery Archives

The Plastic Surgery Archives includes 2858 records, drawn from operations performed between 1917 to 1925. Widely recognised as the father of plastic surgery, pioneering surgeon Dr Harold Gillies joined the Royal Army Medical Corps on the outbreak of WW1. Following his work and experiences in the army, when he returned to England Gillies set up a facial injury ward at the Cambridge Military Hospital. As more men came back from the war, this soon expanded, and in 1917 The Queen's Hospital specialising in facial repairs was opened in Sidcup.

Gillies and his colleagues at the hospital carried out pioneering surgery; more than 11,000 operations were performed on over 5,000 men. Gillies was knighted for his work in 1930.

The Gillies Archives offer personal details that will further aid family historians to find specific persons, information such as rank, tour dates, injuries, and admission and release from the hospital.

Details may include:
*Injuries sustained
*Date admitted to hospital
*Date discharged from hospital

Plastic Surgery of the Face, and Gillies surgery photos

Dr Harold Gillies’ book, Plastic Surgery of the Face, is available as a free download from the Gillies internet archive. Due to the often graphic nature and poor quality of the photos, Genes Reunited decided against hosting the photos online.

The personal medical records and individual photographs of soldiers will not all be available online due to their sensitive nature.

Medical Breakthroughs: Gillies Plastic Surgery Archives Reveal Soldiers' lives after WWI

This unique military records collection indexes the groundbreaking medical work performed by Dr. Harold Gillies on disfigured soldiers before and after World War I. Dr. Gillies developed plastic surgery techniques that completed some of the first successful skin grafts.

Photo: Documents plastic surgery performed by Dr. Harold Gillies on WWI soldier, William M. Spreckley, a Lieutenant from the Sherwood Foresters Service in the British contingent, 16th battalion.

Spreckley, at the age of 33, acted as Gillies’ 132nd patient and was admitted to the hospital on January 1917 due to a ‘gunshot wound nose.’ He was discharged three and a half years later in October of 1920.

Marvels in modern medicine: Gillies' Plastic Surgery innovations

Harold Gillies' work allowed wounded soldiers to leave the war and live normally when they otherwise might have carried a physical reminder for the rest of their lives.

In perhaps his most groundbreaking advance, Dr. Harold Gillies introduced the tubed pedicle, which used the patients’ own tissue to patch wounds with reconstructive surgery. Using tissue from the patient themselves, instead of another person or animal, reduces the chance of rejection and later complications.

These records document medical procedures that moulded the field of modern medicine in the 20th century.