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The Division of Plastic Surgery

The dedicated Surgeons at the Division of Plastic Surgery at McMaster tirelessly endeavour to improve patient care, guided by evidence-based methodologies and innovations.

Plastic Surgery Faculty

Learn more about our dynamic team of plastic surgeons. 

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Education in Plastic Surgery

Education is the biggest strength of the McMaster Plastic Surgery training program and graduates from our program have gone on to rewarding careers in academia​ and community practice.

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Research In Plastic Surgery

Members of the Division of Plastic Surgery are involved in both clinical science research as well as pure basic science research. We are recognized as a world leader in Evidence-Based Plastic Surgery.

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Plastic Surgery Events Calendar

Events and important dates for faculty and trainees. 

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James Bain
  • Professor
    Plastic Surgery
  • Academic Division Head, Division of Plastic Surgery

Faculty

The role of the Plastic Surgeon is pivotal in the reconstruction and repair of injury, burn trauma and birth defect victims in our community. The dedicated Surgeons at the Division of Plastic Surgery at McMaster tirelessly endeavour to improve patient care, guided by evidence-based methodologies and innovations.

Based at two main teaching hospitals: Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS), a four-site acute care teaching hospital that is Ontario’s largest comprehensive provider of health services, and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton (SJHH), the Division is an international leader and educator of evidence-based plastic surgery, spear-headed by our Director of Research, Dr. Achilles Thoma.

Our residency program continues to attract stellar applicants who diligently participate in weekly teaching rounds, monthly journal clubs and comprehensive didactic programs that stimulate learning. We will continue to recruit and to maintain a high quality residency program, and continue to provide excellent surgical care to our community and beyond. In these pages, I invite you to learn more about our services, research and education and further how these align with the values and best practices of the profession.

Overview

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 has been strong relationship between Hamilton and the Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital as three of our plastic surgeons have trained there. The third was Dr. Stewart Heddle who went there from guidance from Dr.Mirehouse.

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 Deptartment of Surgery (he also served as a past editor of the Canadian Journal of Surgery). The first plastic surgical resident to commence training under the Royal College program was Dr.John Cohen-Shohet in 1976 who now is practicing in Florida.

The first program director of the newly formed plastic surgery training program was Dr. Orville Mirehouse who served until 1988 at which time he also retired. The second resident in our program was Dr. A J Puri who practiced in Burlington until his untimely death a few years ago. The third resident to graduate from the program is Dr.A. 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. Dr.Thoma served as the second program director form 1998 -1998 and he resumed this role from 2005 to 2008. Dr. Thoma is now the Academic Division Head of Plastic Surgery. Prior to Dr. Thoma's second term, Dr. James Bain served as the Program Director from 1999 to 2005. Dr. Nick Strumas has served as the current Program Director since 2008.

Other plastic surgeons who served the Hamilton area over the years and in the order they arrived in Hamilton are: Dr. Gunter Born who completed his plastic training in Syracuse, NY, Dr. Richard Farmer, who for a number of years was the head of the plastic surgery service at Chedoke and chief of the amalgamated institutions known as the Chedoke-McMaster Hospital, Dr. Barry Clark, who graduated from the McGill University plastic surgery program, who served as the head of the plastic surgery service at St. Joseph's hospital and head of the division of plastic surgery at McMaster University.

Division Overview

The Division of Plastic Surgery consists of 4 full-time and 7 part-time faculty members. Five plastic surgeons are based at St. Joseph’s Healthcare (Drs. Thoma, Campbell- Moscrop, Patterson, Levis, Hynes) and seven are based at (HHSC) Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation (Drs. Bain, Avram, Dalcin, Martin, Strumas, Cooper and Choi).  Dr Rodger Shortt from Oakville, Ontario is an Associate Clinical faculty member.
  
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 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.
  
While St. Joseph ’s Healthcare provides reconstructive plastic surgery covering the full spectrum, the focus of this institution is head and neck microsurgery following cancer extirpation.  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 nearby.

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