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Division of Plastic Surgery
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Historical Background

Plastic surgery at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC) has a long and distinguished past that goes back to 1946. In the fall of that year, which coincided with the end of the Second World War, two distinguished surgeons arrived in Beirut and joined the Department of Surgery at AUBMC as visiting professors.

Dr. Allen O. Whipple, professor and chairman of the Department of Surgery at Columbia - Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, and Dr. J. Joseph MacDonald joined the Department of Surgery and initiated a surgical renaissance. This was little noticed at the time, but it left a lasting imprint and influenced the development and progress of surgery at AUBMC in Lebanon and the Middle East. Joe, as he was affectionately called by his colleagues and residents, succeeded Dr. Whipple as chairman of the Department of Surgery when the latter returned to the U.S. at the end of the academic year. Dr. MacDonald introduced modern plastic surgery rotations, then almost unknown in Lebanon and the Middle East.

Dr. MacDonald was a brilliant surgeon and an exemplary teacher. His plastic surgery procedures, which he performed at AUBMC, included the whole gamut of the specialty, both reconstructive and aesthetic. The results of his operations were remarkable and soon earned him a reputation for excellence and innovation. This boosted the reputation of AUBMC and attracted patients from Lebanon and the Middle East.

Few of the graduating residents were encouraged to continue subspecialty training in leading centers in the U.S. The first generation of these residents included three accomplished plastic surgeons that later assumed chairmanships of plastic surgery programs in the U.S.: Dr. Vahram Bakamjian, Dr. Frederick Ruckert, and Dr. Sameer I. Shehadi. Other well respected and renowned plastic surgeons from this first generation are Dr. Michel Rubeiz and Dr. Fawzi Abou Jamra. On January 8th, 1988, Dr. Maurice Saba, then chairman of the Department of Surgery, charged Dr. Imad Kaddoura with the task of setting up, spearheading the creation of a residency training program in plastic surgery. Under his leadership and with the help of Dr. Michel Rebeiz, the program was initiated accepting Dr. Hagop Manoushakian as the first trainee. Dr. Bishara Atyeh was soon recruited as an attending, and the residency program blossomed and grew in the most challenging of times that occurred in Lebanon. To date, the residency program has successfully trained and graduated twelve local and regional plastic surgeons that are respected members of their community.

In 2011, our division became the first to be accredited by the European Board of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery (EBOPRAS) outside Europe. In 2013, we were accredited by the Post-Graduate Dean of Surgery London University as a training center for UK-based trainees.

Today, the Division of Plastic Surgery at AUBMC is staffed by competent and well-trained plastic surgeons including Drs. Samir Shehadi, Bishara Atiyeh, Imad Kaddoura, Youssef Bakhach, Imad Shehadi and the Chief of the Division Dr. Ghassan Abu-Sittah. The practice covers the whole breadth of the specialty from aesthetic to reconstructive surgery. The latest in techniques and innovations are offered in a most professional setting.

Division of Plastic Surgery American University of Beirut Medical Center Department of Surgery