History of ASPS
How a pioneering organization & specialty took shape
Plastic surgery may be one of the world's oldest healing arts. Learn about this pioneering specialty, and the history of ASPS and The Plastic Surgery Foundation.
The 1970s began with plastic surgeons moving to the forefront of the medical profession. All parts of the human body, it seemed, could benefit from the skill of a plastic surgeon and ASPS members made landmark contributions in areas not previously considered within their sphere.
A Nobel Laureate
In the early 1970s, ASPS member Joseph Murray, MD, of Boston, performed the first successful kidney transplant, an achievement that would earn him the Nobel Prize. Another ASPS member, George Crikelair, MD, of Florida, developed flame-retardant children's clothing, saving thousands of lives, and thousands more from agonizing pain and disfigurement.
The Passing of a Founding Father
In 1976, ASPS founder Jacques Maliniac passed away. In the 45 years since he founded the Society, he had seen it grow from a handful of his east coast New York colleagues to nearly 2,000 members spread across the country.
Conflict with Uncle Sam
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) gave ASPS a different sort of bad news a few months later. The FTC informed the Society that it had to surrender certain records to the government.
The Commission was on an anti-medicine kick. It had already strong-armed the AMA into allowing doctors to advertise, and now had turned its attention to plastic surgery, which was a relatively small specialty, but prominent in the public's eye.
FTC Commissioner Michael Pertschek considered medical boards and board certification self-serving and anti-competitive, although they generally assured patients of the best quality physicians. He hoped to sweep out the system and initiate advertising and price-wars among medical professionals. However, after a long battle with the Society, the FTC eventually backed down.