American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals

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 1940s

In the 1940s, many plastic surgeons served their country during World War II and expanded plastic surgery procedures through the unique circumstances of treating wounded soldiers, sailors and airmen.

The Plastic Surgery Foundation

As the 1940s moved to a close, ASPS steadily grew in membership, and by 1949 had more than 150 surgeons. These new members had been trained by surgeons other than Dr. Maliniac, who concentrated on his private practice rather than teaching. With all the new blood in the organization, Dr. Maliniac gradually lost control of his own creation. However, rather than sulking at losing his power, Dr. Maliniac moved quickly and decisively as he had done 20 years earlier in founding ASPS: in 1948, he formed the educational foundation of ASPS, now known as The Plastic Surgery Foundation (The PSF) and served as its president until 1955.

The Foundation's mission was to support research pertaining to congenital and acquired deformities, promote high standards of training, practice and research in plastic surgery, confer scholarships and prizes and promote lectures, seminars and medical and public meetings to educate the public in plastic surgery matters.

The Foundation also took American plastic surgery to the rest of the world by establishing exchange and fellowship programs with physicians in other nations. The PSF has been especially active since its inception in sending American surgeons to developing nations to help train physicians in plastic surgery techniques and treat citizens of those countries who would not otherwise have access to advanced surgical techniques. The Foundation also sponsors educational symposia to allow surgeons to demonstrate their innovations to colleagues.

The Journal

While Dr. Maliniac was launching The PSF, Dr. Aufricht was initiating another important educational tool as well – a scientific journal targeted specifically for plastic surgeons. With the help of Williams & Wilkins, a publishing house specializing in medical periodicals, the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (PRS), the official organ of ASPS, debuted in July 1946. The journal has served continuously as a forum for plastic surgeons to disseminate their knowledge and discoveries to medical colleagues for the benefit of plastic surgery patients.


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