In the 19th century, long before plastic surgery was recognized as a specialty, surgeons were performing successful operations on hare-lip and cleft palate. They were also performing reconstructive surgery on facial features deformed by accident and skin grafting for burns.
Among the forerunners in Quebec, we can identify the following doctors: John Stephenson from McGill University; Dudley Ross from Montreal Children's Hospital; Ralph Fitzgerald and George Hodge from Montreal General Hospital; E. Dubé from Sainte-Justine Hospital; and François Roy from Quebec City.
Because of the numbers severe injuries, through necessity, the practice of plastic and reconstructive surgery evolved with giant strides during the 1st world war.
The atrocious wounds inflicted in the trenches during World War I and the mutilation that occurred in battle on land, sea and air, during World War II, required a considerable expansion of the methods of treatments and reconstruction in surgery. In short, the horrors of war contributed favorably to the rapid expansion of plastic surgery.
In 1916, doctor Fulton Risdon was the first Canadian doctor to practice plastic surgery as a specialty. As a collaboration with Gillies and Kazanjian at Queen's Hospital, in Sidcup, Kent county (Great Britain) he performed facial reconstruction on Canadian soldiers and allies.
From 1930, the specialty of plastic surgery extended its action to other fields, such as facial reconstruction, hand surgery burns, cancer and congenital anomalies.
In 1941, in order for plastic surgery to be recognized apart from general surgery, Jack Gerrie suggested to Fulton Risdon that an independent medical society might be established.
During World War II, doctor Alfred Farmer was renowned amongst Canadian surgeons. In Great Britain, Ross Tilley reconstructed faces, noses, hands of our young soldiers wounded in combat.
Around 1944, Fred Woolhouse, medical officer in Royal Canadian Marine, took a special interest in cold injuries and burns.
After 1945, plastic surgeons applied their skills to the congenital anomalies of new borns and burn trauma in the young and adults. They also treated some cancers and expanded the field of transplantation, as well as facial esthetic surgery and hand surgery.
In 1947, twelve specialists in plastic and reconstructive surgery in concert established what is still known as the Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons. The new surgical discipline now had a solid foothold. The founders were: Fulton Risdon (first plastic surgeon in the country); Stuart Gordon; Hoyle Campbell; John Ord; Alfred Farmer; Ross Tilley; Lyman Barclay; Wallace McNichol. From Quebec there was, Jack Gerrie (first plastic surgeon in the province); Hamilton Baxter; Fred Woolhouse; and Georges Cloutier.
Their first meeting took place at the Queen Mary Veteran's Hospital on November 7th, 1947. The founders laid the milestones and clinical landmarks of this new discipline and determined to prepare and teach the surgeons who would follow in their foot steps. There was so much to be done in their active practice that little time was used for these pioneers to pursue research and publish their results.
In 1950, Jack Gerrie, Fred Woolhouse, Hamilton Baxter, Georges Cloutier and Gérard Hébert established the Quebec Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
During the fifties, a second generation of plastic surgeons emerged from the teaching of these forefathers. They improved the surgical techniques and started to publish results of clinical and fundamental research.
Among members of this Quebec task-force were: J. Gérard Hébert; John A. Drummonnd; Martin A Entin; Armand Genest; and Yves Prévost.
In the early sixties, the University of Montreal and McGill University offered a training program and residency in plastic surgery. At that time, Quebec had more than 20 plastic surgeons.
In the late seventies, plastic surgery brought forward new advancements, particularly, in the field of cranio-facial reconstruction, microsurgery and refinements in aesthetic plastic surgery.
The eighties were marked by the introduction and development of numerous innovative techniques such as liposuction, endoscopy for facial aesthetic procedures, laser surgery for various cutaneous pathologies and imperfections.
In the year 2000, the Association of Specialists in Plastic and Aesthetic Surgery has 107 active members.