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Wendell L. Hughes' Life and Contributions to Plastic Surgery

McClellan, W. Thomas M.D.; Rawson, Ashley E. M.D.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: December 2011 - Volume 128 - Issue 6 - p 765e–772e
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e318230c9f4
Special Topic

Summary: Wendell L. Hughes was a pioneer in ophthalmic plastic surgery and best known for the “Hughes flap,” a tarsoconjunctival flap used for lower eyelid reconstruction. In 1937, Wendell L. Hughes sought to achieve the criterion standard of replacing “like with like” in his development of the tarsoconjunctival flap for lower lid reconstruction. This work was published in his ground-breaking thesis, Reconstructive Surgery of the Eyelids, the most comprehensive book on ophthalmic plastic surgery of its time. Although this flap has undergone many modifications, it has stood the test of time and is still used today. In addition, Dr. Hughes was heavily involved in surgical education, a founding member of the American Board of Plastic Surgery, and a leader in the development of sutures and microneedles. More importantly, he was a gracious humanitarian and inspiring mentor loved by peers and patients alike. Other authors have reviewed the intricacies of the Hughes flap; however, little attention has been given to the contributions of its creator.

Morgantown, W.Va.; and Lexington, Ky.

From the Department of Surgery, Section of Plastic Surgery, West Virginia University School of Medicine, and the Department of Surgery, Section of Plastic Surgery, University of Kentucky College of Medicine.

Received for publication January 4, 2011; accepted March 10, 2011.

Disclosure:Neither of the authors has any financial interests to report or has received any funds for the preparation of this article.

W. Thomas McClellan, M.D.; Morgantown Plastic Surgery Associates, United Center, Suite 350, 1085 Van Voorhis Road, Morgantown, W.Va. 26505,

©2011American Society of Plastic Surgeons