The Division of Plastic Surgery was established in 1946 under the leadership of Dr. Forrest Young. An early leader in cleft lip and palate surgery, he also gained notoriety for early publications on the management of third degree burns.
In September 1950, Dr. Robert McCormack, who completed his residency in plastic surgery under Dr. Young, was recruited from his practice in Milwaukee to succeed Dr. Young.
Residency rotations with plastic surgeons at The Genesee Hospital (now closed), Rochester General Hospital, and at Roswell Park Memorial Hospital in Buffalo were established. In 1959 Dr. Lester Cramer established the first cleft and craniofacial program in upstate New York. Additional leadership recruits for the group in this period included Dr. Harold Bales and Dr. George Reading.
In 1962 the Division hosted the first national Plastic Surgical Residents Conference in Rochester, NY. A hand fellowship alongside orthopedic surgery began in 1975.
Dr. Joseph Serletti joined the faculty in 1990 and assumed the Chief role in 1998, continuing the tradition of microsurgical excellence at the university. When he left to become Chief at the University of Pennsylvania in 2005, he was replaced by world-class microsurgeon Dr. Howard Langstein from M.D. Anderson in Houston, Texas, who continues as Chief of the division to date.
Under Dr. Langstein’s leadership the faculty has grown and expertise expanded.