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Article
April 1996

MOMENTS IN SURGICAL HISTORY

Arch Surg. 1996;131(4):416. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1996.01430160074015

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Abstract

Gurdon Buck (1807-1877) was a surgeon at New York Hospital for almost 40 years. In 1876, he authored the 237-page Contributions to Reparative Surgery, the country's first textbook devoted to plastic and reconstructive surgery. Twenty-nine operations are described in detail, illustrated with almost 100 engravings. Buck was unusual in that he photographed his plastic surgery cases both before and after surgery. Among the most famous cases is that of Carleton Burgan, who, while serving in the Civil War, developed a rapidly spreading ulcer of his face with massive tissue loss, probably resulting from treatment with mercurials for presumed venereal disease. Buck's skilled reconstruction of Burgan's deformed face, requiring five separate surgical operations, was one of the greatest operative triumphs of 19th-century American surgery.

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