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  • Nearly a century after the fact, pictures of the first person to ever undergo plastic surgery have been released.  World War 1 veteran Walter Yeo sustained horrendous facial injuries, which included losing both upper and lower eyelids while manning the guns aboard HMS Warspite in 1916.

    Plastic Surgery

    The English soldier was soon after treated by Dr. Harold Gillies in a special sector of Queen Mary’s Hospital. Yeo’s damaged eyelids were treated with a ‘mask’ of skin grafted across his face and eyes. Dr. Gillies, coined as the “father of plastic surgery,” became the first doctor to use skin grafts from undamaged areas on the body to treat such injuries.

    “This tragedy catalysed the surgeon to transform the fledgling discipline of plastic surgery,” said artist Paddy Hartley, who has used these images in her exhibitions. “Casualties treated by Sir Harold Gillies included an unprecedented number with horrific facial injuries.”

    Dr. Gillies not only set the precedent for treating such war injuries, but essentially jump started the progression of modern age plastic surgery. Gillies’ accomplishments created a foundation for more plastic surgeons to build upon in this modern-day advanced art form.