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2014 Edition, October 14, 2014

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ISBN: 978-1-48-224082-5 * NO LONGER AVAILABLE
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Product Details:

  • Revision: 2014 Edition, October 14, 2014
  • Published Date: October 14, 2014
  • Status: Not Active, See comments below
  • Document Language:
  • Published By: CRC Press (CRC)
  • Page Count: 360
  • ANSI Approved: No
  • DoD Adopted: No

Description / Abstract:


Five hundred years after this observation, Robert Hooke, writing to his rival, Sir Isaac Newton, in 1676 restated this as: "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." This metaphor for discovering truth by building on previous discoveries would become a guiding principle for scientific progress, serving as a model for inquiry and investigation.

As a student and educator of plastic surgery, I often wonder: ‘Who are the giants in our field? On whose shoulders am I standing?'

This book, 50 Studies Every Plastic Surgeon Should Know, represents an attempt to identify the most influential contributors of our discipline, who have laid the foundation for the modern practice of plastic surgery. My goals in compiling this book were as follows:
  • To review and consolidate our collective working knowledge
  • To demonstrate the vast depth and diversity of plastic surgery
  • To highlight the importance of innovation as our core competency
  • To teach trainees our origins and inspire practitioners to educate
  • To provoke the reader into thinking about what studies were not included in this book, but should have been, because of error, personal perspective, or editorial discretion
  • To inspire future leaders into making their own lasting contributions to our specialty

Selecting the 50 studies "every plastic surgeon should know" proved to be a formidable task. I knew that I wanted to start with skin grafting and end with face transplantation. However, identifying the 48 studies in between challenged me to assess critically and objectively which contributions have had the greatest impact on how we practice our craft.

To identify these papers, I created a set of rules that guided my selection process. Because I wanted to focus on the modern era (defined as within the past century), I necessarily excluded the Edwin Smith papyrus, the Sushruta surgical text, Vesalius' anatomic treatise, De Humani Corporus Fabrica, Tagliacozzi's "Italian method" of nasal reconstruction, and Barronio's skin transplantation in sheep—all monumental achievements, but beyond the scope of this book. Furthermore, I made the admittedly controversial decisions not to include Alexis Carrel's work on vascular anastomoses, Sir Peter Medawar's discovery of acquired immune tolerance, or Joseph Murray's kidney transplantation, because these accomplishments had far-reaching implications across so many other surgical disciplines. The desire to represent the breadth of plastic surgery also limited the depth of each subject area, so that no single subspecialty was neglected. Finally, some surgeons could have made the list more than once, but to provide a larger palette of papers, I included only those surgeons' most important contributions.

The 50 studies that emerged were based on the following:

1. Careful review of several reports that ranked publications by citation index and number1-5

2. Recently published surveys from members of the American Council of Academic Plastic Surgeons and the Southeastern Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons6

3. Interviews with multiple thought leaders in plastic surgery (John McCraw, Leonard Furlow, Wolfgang Losken, Luis and Henry Vasconez, Wyndell Merritt, Ernest Manders, and James Grotting)

4. Frank McDowell's Source Book of Plastic Surgery, which includes scores of original manuscripts from the nineteenth and early twentieth century7

These reviews were put into a more or less standard format so that the reader can become familiar with the methods, results, limitations, and implications of each paper. I have also added a short reference list for each review, to serve as a springboard for further inquiry. Additionally, I was able to obtain commentaries from 27 original authors, supplemented by expert reflections and editorial perspectives.

My only regret is that we could not include any more papers beyond our top 50, because the next 50 were almost as provocative, exciting, and/or influential. I would like to apologize specifically to Sir Archibald McIndoe, a professional hero of mine, who was inspired by the landmark advances in facial reconstruction developed by his cousin, Sir Harold Gillies, to devise multiple techniques of burn reconstruction for the treatment of pilots injured in World War II.

My own knowledge of the history of plastic surgery increased dramatically over the course of this project, and my belief that innovation is our core competency was only strengthened. However, I also learned that Sir Isaac Newton was partly wrong: Indeed, we do stand on the shoulders of giants, who have passed on information and insight to succeeding generations, but this only leads to incremental progress. Plastic surgery is largely driven, though, by disruptive innovation, which can stimulate radical and abrupt change. The development of modern plastic surgery has unfolded more like the punctuated equilibrium of Stephen Jay Gould than the glacial change of Charles Darwin's selective evolution. Our specialty is defined by, and dependent on, the paradigm shifts that Thomas Kuhn embraced in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Rather than progressing through the slow accumulation of knowledge, our specialty is propelled into the future by individuals with remarkable wisdom, courage, and insight. This book is about those individuals and their singular, visionary contributions to our collective body of work.