Tribute to Nobel Prize Winner and ‘Master of Plastic Surgery’ Leads off January Issue
Philadelphia, Pa. (February 12, 2013) – The field of surgery lost a giant last year with the death of Joseph E. Murray, MD, Nobel laureate in medicine and biology and a pioneer in both transplantation and craniofacial surgery. A special tribute to Dr. Murray appears in the January issue of The Journal of Craniofacial Surgery, published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health.
Mutaz Habal, MD, Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Craniofacial Surgery, shares an editorial celebrating the career and contributions of Dr. Murray as a mentor, colleague, and friend. Dr. Habal’s is one of several tributes included in the special January issue, which also features updates on new research developments and clinical problems of interest to plastic, reconstructive, and craniofacial surgeons.
Memories of Dr. Murray by a Colleague and Friend
Dr. Murray died last November at age 93. His place in history is assured as the surgeon who performed the first successful human kidney transplant, between a pair of identical twins, in 1954. Dr. Murray went on to perform groundbreaking research in transplantation biology and tissue and organ rejection.
Dr. Murray was also instrumental in developing immunosuppressive drugs that led to the development of modern organ transplantation. In 1990, he shared the shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Dr. E. Donnall Thomas “for their discoveries concerning organ and cell transplantation in the treatment of human disease.” (Dr. Thomas, a pioneer in bone marrow transplantation, also died last year.)
At a time when transplantation surgery is a specialty in its own right, it may be surprising to learn that Dr Murray’s specialty was plastic surgery. His interest in transplantation developed from his experience with skin grafting as a military surgeon treating seriously burned patients.
In his editorial, Dr. Habal recalls his first encounter Dr. Murray during a lecture question-and-answer period more than four decades ago. Dr. Habal went on to train with Dr. Murray in the Department of Plastic Surgery at Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. It was a time of groundbreaking contributions to craniofacial surgery—including the first mid-face advancement surgery, and the correction of hypertelorism. Dr. Murray inspired all the young surgeons who became the spear head of the development of the field of craniofacial surgery with his work on composite transplantation with Dr. John Woods, which was the grounds for the development of face transplant at the same medical institution. This was well discussed as the new frontier in plastic surgery.
“This special issue of the journal should serve as an inspiration to the young and newcomers of the specialty as a model for the advancement of their careers,” Dr. Habal writes. “Dr. Murray taught us all that the patient comes first, and self-promotion is out of the formula of patient care.”
New Research on Wound Healing, and Two Unusual Injuries
The special issue includes a number of other tributes to Dr. Murray—including one by Elof Eriksson, MD, PhD, who succeeded Dr. Murray as Chief of Plastic Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Along with his colleagues Johan P.E. Junker, PhD, and E.-J. Caterson, MD, PhD, Dr. Eriksson is coauthor of an update on the microenvironment of wound healing. They report on recent research showing that a “wet, incubator-like environment provides the fastest healing with fewest aberrations and least scar formation.”
The researchers have created a “wound chamber” that creates a wet environment, promoting survival and proliferation of transplanted cells and tissues. Dr. Eriksson and colleagues conclude, “With the addition of various active molecules and cells, it also provides a platform technology for regeneration in vivo.”
The special issue also present brief reports on unusual wounds of special interest to plastic, reconstructive, and craniofacial surgeons. One report describes “conductive contact burns” as a serious injury caused by overexposure to Korean-style hot dry saunas. Another suggests that titanium miniplates used in reconstructive surgery may be a risk factor for osteonecrosis in elderly patients taking bisphosphonate drugs for osteoporosis.
Dr. Habal comments, “We believe the tributes to Dr. Murray, along with the cutting-edge research and practical clinical information presented in our special issue, are a fitting memorial to a surgeon-scientist who contributed so much to the fields of plastic, transplantation, and craniofacial surgery—thus affecting the lives of countless patients, now and in the future.”
About The Journal of Craniofacial Surgery
The Journal of Craniofacial Surgery, under the guidance of Editor-in-Chief Mutaz B. Habal, MD, serves as a forum of communication for all those involved in craniofacial and maxillofacial surgery. Coverage ranges from practical aspects of craniofacial surgery to the basic science that underlies surgical practice. Affiliates include 14 major specialty societies around the world, including the American Association of Pediatric Plastic Surgeons, the American Academy of Pediatrics Section of Pediatric Plastic Surgery, the American Society of Craniofacial Surgeons, the American Society of Maxillofacial Surgeons, the Argentine Society of Plastic Surgery Section of Pediatric Plastic Surgery, the Asian Pacific Craniofacial Association, the Association of Military Plastic Surgeons of the U.S., the Brazilian Society of Craniofacial Surgeons, the European Society of Craniofacial Surgery, the International Society of Craniofacial Surgery, the Japanese Society of Craniofacial Surgery, the Korean Society of Craniofacial Surgery, the Thai Cleft and Craniofacial Association, and the World Craniofacial Foundation.
About Lippincott Williams & WilkinsLippincott Williams & Wilkins (LWW) is a leading international publisher of trusted content delivered in innovative ways to practitioners, professionals and students to learn new skills, stay current on their practice, and make important decisions to improve patient care and clinical outcomes.
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