Message from the President

Naoki Morimoto, MD, PhD
Japan Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Naoki Morimoto, MD, PhD

In April 2021, I was appointed President of the Japan Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (JSPRS). It is only two years since I took office as professor of Kyoto University and my experience and achievements are extremely insufficient compared with those of the past Presidents who had achieved great work. However, I am determined to do my utmost to further develop JSPRS and plastic surgery with the support and encouragement of our members.

Historically in Japan, surgeons from the related departments, such as otolaryngology, orthopedic surgery and dermatology gathered together to form an independent department specific for plastic and reconstructive surgery. Therefore, the treatment in those days was mainly focused to congenital anomalies of the cranio-maxillofacial region such as cleft lip and palate, and microtia, congenital anomalies of the hands and feet such as polydactyly, dermatologic surgery such as burns, scar contractures, keloids, skin tumors (benign and malignant), congenital nevi (birthmarks), and facial trauma such as facial fractures in plastic surgery. Then, with the rapid development of microsurgery technology, the art of anastomosing and suturing blood vessels, nerves and lymphatic vessels less than a millimeter in diameter has become a specialty of plastic surgery. To show some concrete examples, in particular, replantation surgery of the limbs and fingers, hand surgery such as toe-to-finger transfer, breast reconstruction and head and neck reconstruction are the mainstays of plastic and reconstructive surgery practice. Plastic and reconstructive surgery is essential for the surgical resection of malignant tumors today. Since 1993 when I graduated from the medical school, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, especially in the field of skin regeneration, have made a rapid development. Cultured epidermal autograft, which was first approved in Japan as cell therapy products, and the bilayer artificial dermis that is the scaffold for dermal regeneration are used in the routine practice of plastic and reconstructive surgery. Besides, plastic surgeons are also responsible for the new treatment such as the sustained negative-pressure wound therapy and PRP (platelet-rich plasma) treatment against the intractable skin ulcer of recently increasing diabetic ulcers. In addition, although this is not covered by insurance, breast reconstruction by fat grafting is now a worldwide topic. Composite tissue allo-transplantation of the face and hand from other people is performed by plastic surgeons in overseas countries.

Thanks to the efforts of our predecessors, plastic and reconstructive surgery is certified as one of the basic medical specialties defined by the Japanese Medical Specialty Board. In fact, the body surface repair techniques of plastic and reconstructive surgery enable to repair any part of the body and I believe that plastic surgery is a specialty best suited as a general surgery in emergency medicine. Furthermore, as a specialty department that has continued practicing regenerative medicine for the longest time, we hope it will continue to be a department that strives for tissue regeneration, organ regeneration, and for the ultimate goal of scarless wound healing.