Aesthetic Surgery: a tradition of excellence in Lyon

Lyon has a long tradition in Plastic Surgery dating back to the end of the 19th century in particular at Hotel Dieu De Lyon where Professor Ollier describes the thin skin graft in 1871. The Lyonnais Plastic Surgery was then equally marked by the treatment of <broken jaws> by Professor Albert Pont at Civil Hospices of Lyon, who created in 1915 the first department for <Broken Jaws>; and later on at Desgenettes Military Hospital, especially with the temporary participation in this hospital of Dr.Gustave Ginestet, one of the masters of Military Maxillo-Facial and Plastic Surgery, then in civil practice (continuing his career at Foch Hospital in Paris). The treatment of this difficult cases allowed to develop basic technics of Reconstructive Surgery, thing that allowed, in the times of peace, developing its “daughter”, the Aesthetic Surgery. The Lyonnais Plastic Surgeons are the heirs of this pioneers in surgery who put their talent and passion to the service of <Broken Jaws>; and this happened thanks to the courage and motivation of the major wounded of WWI. The Lyonnais Doctors are to this day in the “front line”, but luckily, this is only the “front line” of research and innovation.

An additional step was taken in 1952 when Dr Pierre Colson (the President of the French Society of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery in 1971) created the first Burns Treatment Centre in Europe. It was created following a chemical accident that took place at Ciba Factories in Saint Fons. Several injured people were brought to the hospital and one of them died upon arrival. Fernand Hermans, president of the young Lyonnais patrons and manager of Ciba Factories contributed with the necessary funds to build St Laurent Centre, the first european burns treatment center. In order to take care of the after-effects of burns, when they left the St Laurent Center, Dr. Pierre Colson joined in 1965 the department directed by Dr. Hélène Janvier, herself formed by Professor San Venero Rosseli in Milano. Dr. Hélène Janvier, who was practicing privately Aesthetic Surgery, set up the first department of Reconstructive Surgery in Lyon in addition to the Maxillo-Facial and Somatology departments of the University Medical Centre. In 1969 Dr. Hélène Janvier together with Dr. André Gaté (President of the French Society in 1984) founded The Lyonnais Study Centre for Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery whose goal was to develop the plastic surgery teaching. The first course, dispensed in 1971, formed many surgeons from the south of France. In 1973 Dr. Hélène Janvier was forced by health reasons to stop her surgical activity. She specialized in Psychiatry and passed her department of Plastic Surgery to our master, Dr. Charles Masson, then Head of the Department of Maxillo-Facial Surgery at Saint Joseph Hospital. Dr. Masson and his deputy, Dr. Bernard Dessapt created at that time The Colson Club that grouped a dozen of surgeons from Lyon and Grenoble. This gathering was the beginning of the rise of modern Aesthetic Surgery in Lyon, proving that it had nothing to envy of that in Paris, and it allowed the patients in Lyon and Rhône-Alpes area to benefit of better aesthetic surgeons. In 1985 the Lyonnais Plastic Surgeons decided to turn the Colson Club into the Lyonnais Aesthetic Surgery Circle. This was an important step in the development of excellence in Aesthetic Surgery in Lyon allowing emulation and mutual stimulation of the members and finally an important development of the private practice of Aesthetic Surgery. This event was welcomed by the local press, especially in the Rhône-Alpes edition of Figaro magazine showing the picture of different founders: Dr. Frank Trepsat, Dr. Charles Louis Masson, Dr. Pierre Marc Durand, Dr. André Gaté and Dr. Bernard Dessapt. This group was without a doubt one of the founding elements of the actual excellence of Plastic Surgery in Lyon.

In 1993 the Lyonnais Aesthetic Surgery Circle becomes Rhône-Alpes Society of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery (French: SORACEP). Within this regional society we organized (as vice-president for scientific activity) from October 1993 until 2016 with the kindness, dynamism and support of Dr. Jean-Louis Foyatier (President of SORACEP and President of SOFCPRE 2011) the monthly colloquium of Rhône-Alpes Plastic Surgery. This colloquium was a source of exchange and emulation, and many national and international lecturers came to present their innovative techniques and teach the members of SORACEP. This tradition of excellence and high level of the Lyonnais Aesthetic Surgery reached a pick in 1998 with the joint organization of two european symposiums: The European Facial Plastic Surgery Symposium (chairman : Frank Trepsat) and The European Breast Plastic Surgery Symposium (chairman : Emmanuel Delay). The two high level congresses brought together world leaders with many american tenors who came to share their techniques and to pay tribute to the excellence of Aesthetic Surgery in Lyon. A special tribute to Dr. Frank Trepsat, formed by the famous Lyonnais School of Maxillo-Facial Surgery (of which we also benefit), formed by Dr. Paul Teissier in Paris (father of Cranial-Facial Surgery), and formed by Prof. Mac Murray in Boston (Nobel Prize in Medicine for founding work on transplantation), who from the end of the 70’s in the Charcot Clinic showed a desire to assert excellence in Aesthetic Surgery in Lyon. He affirmed leadership that contributed tremendously to the profession of the aesthetic surgeons Lyonnais, by his innovative character and by his surgical brilliance.

Currently the Lyonnais Aesthetic Surgery is very dynamic. Several departments in the hospitals provide quality training for the residents in Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery. The aesthetic branch is also very dynamic and includes several world renown surgeons that organize on a regular basis congresses and lessons for their French and foreign colleagues, thus ensuring the influence beyond the borders of Lyonnaise Aesthetic Surgery which continues the tradition of excellence in Aesthetic Surgery in Lyon.