Cranial Maxillofac Trauma Reconstruction 2019; 12(01): 001-007
DOI: 10.1055/s-0038-1660443
Review Article
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Plastic Surgery Pioneers of the Central Powers in the Great War

Robert Llewellyn Thomas
1  Department of Plastic Surgery, Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, Devon, United Kingdom
Anton Fries
2  Department of Plastic Surgery, Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, Exeter, Devon, United Kingdom
Darryl Hodgkinson
3  Department of Plastic Surgery, Cosmetic and Restorative Surgery Clinic, Sydney, Australia
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

20 January 2018

04 April 2018

Publication Date:
02 August 2018 (eFirst)


Plastic surgical techniques were described in antiquity and the Middle Ages; however, the genesis of modern plastic surgery is in the early 20th century. The exigencies of trench warfare, combined with medical and technological advances at that time, enabled pioneers such as Sir Harold Gillies to establish what is now recognized as plastic and reconstructive surgery. The physicians of Germany, Russia, and the Ottoman Empire were faced with the same challenges; it is fascinating to consider parallel developments in these countries. A literature review was performed relating to the work of Esser, Lanz, Joseph, Morestin, and Filatov. Their original textbooks were reviewed. We describe the clinical, logistical, and psychological approaches to managing plastic surgical patients of these physicians and compare and contrast them to those of the Allies, identifying areas of influence such as Gillies' adoption of Filatov's tube pedicle flap.