The Division of Plastic Surgery consists of 13 full-time faculty members. Six plastic surgeons are based at St. Joseph’s Healthcare (Dr. Levis, Dr. Mark McRae, Dr. Matthew McRae, Dr. Voineskos, Dr. Thoma and Dr. Hynes) and seven are based at the Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation (Dr. Bain, Dr. Avram, Dr. Dalcin, Dr. Appleton, Dr. Coroneos, Dr. Strumas, Dr. Choi). Dr Rodger Shortt is an Associate Clinical faculty member and the director for the aesthetic surgery program for residents. There are many expert surgeons that provide education and clinical expertise to our resident trainees in the community.
The Division provides tertiary care in Plastic Surgery for the Hamilton-Wentworth and Central West region of Ontario. Although the full spectrum of plastic surgery procedures is undertaken in all institutions, the regionalization of Plastic Surgery services, which has been underway since the 1970’s, has led to specialized Plastic Surgery Units at each of the two main institutions.
The Hamilton General site of the Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation is designated as the Regional Trauma Centre for burn management, maxillofacial and extremity trauma. Also located at this site are the Regional Burn Unit and the Hyperbaric Oxygen Unit. The Burn Unit, which is the second busiest in the province, admits approximately 120 burn cases per year and runs an outpatient burn clinic daily. Plastic surgeons at the site provide support to the Trauma Program as well as Cardiac and General Surgery services.
At the Juravinski Cancer Center site, faculty members primarily support the oncology program though sentinel node dissections and reconstruction following removal of breast, cutaneous sarcoma, and lower extremity and pelvic tumors.
The McMaster University Medical Centre (MUMC) site of the HHSC provides care for cleft lip and palate, craniofacial deformities, congenital hand deformities and brachial plexus injuries. Although both pediatric and adult plastic surgery covering the spectrum of the specialty is undertaken, the main focus is pediatric surgery.
St. Joseph’s Healthcare provides reconstructive plastic surgery covering the full spectrum, including skin cancer, extremity reconstruction, breast reconstruction and head and neck microsurgery. Elective and emergency hand cases are seen in this institution, with busy hand clinics located at the main hospital on Charlton Street and the satellite Ambulatory Facility located in East Hamilton.
The cosmetic component of training occurs at our local hospitals as well as through local independent facilities.
HISTORY OF THE DIVISION OF PLASTIC SURGERY
Plastic Surgery was introduced to the Hamilton area in the early days of the development of the specialty shortly after World War II.
The first plastic surgeon in the area was Dr. Wallace McNichol who completed his plastic surgical training at the Columbia-Presbyterian hospital in New York City. At the completion of second world war, he returned to Hamilton to commence practice in 1946 until he died in 1985.
The second plastic surgeon was Dr. Vaughn Renshaw who served in the navy in WWII. He completed his surgical and plastic training in Toronto during the early days of our specialty and was intimately associated with the advancements made in the war in the care of the wounded.
The third plastic surgeon in Hamilton was Dr. Orville Mirehouse who graduated from the University of Western Ontario medical school. Following that he did his internship and surgical residency at the Hamilton General Hospital for 3 years. He did one year of Anatomy Demonstration at the University of Toronto. On the advice of Dr. McNichol, he completed his Plastic Surgical Training at the Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City under the leadership of Dr. Jerome Webster, one of the fathers of American plastic Surgery. There was a close relationship between Hamilton and the Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital with three surgeons in our early history that trained there. The third was Dr. Stewart Heddle.
In 1966 the McMaster Medical School was built and with it ushered the modern era of
specialization under the guidance of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Various surgical programs commenced at McMaster under the leadership of Dr. Barber Mueller, the first chairman of the Department of Surgery. The first plastic surgical resident to commence training under the Royal College program was Dr.John Cohen-Shohet in 1976.
The first program director of the newly formed plastic surgery training program was Dr. Orville Mirehouse who served until 1988. The second resident was Dr. A J Puri who practiced in Burlington. The third resident to graduate from the program is Dr. Achilles Thoma. Dr. Thoma pursued fellowships in hand surgery and microsurgery at the University of Louisville under the leadership of Dr. Harold Kleinert. He returned to Hamilton to introduce microsurgery in head and neck reconstruction at St. Joseph's hospital and became the division of plastic surgery head. Dr. Thoma, Dr. Bain, Dr. Strumas and Dr. Avram have served as program directors.
Our current McMaster Division of Plastic Surgery Chief is Dr. James Bain and current program director is Dr. Matthew McRae. The plastic surgery service chief at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton is Dr. Carolyn Levis. The plastic surgery service chief at Hamilton Health Sciences Center is Dr. Ronen Avram.