Karl Ferdinand von Gräfe

July 4th

German surgeon who helped create modern plastic surgery. Superintendent of German military hospitals during the Napoleonic Wars, he was also professor of surgery and director of the surgical clinic at the University of Berlin. He improved the English surgeon Joseph Carpue’s adaptation of the “Indian method” which used a skin graft from the forehead for plastic surgery of the nose. He also revived the “Italian method” which similarly used an upper arm transplant. Gräfe provided techniques for a cleft palate operation and blood transfusion. Albrecht von Gräfe, his son, also followed into the medical profession, as a prominent ophthalmic surgeon.

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