The speciality of Plastic Surgery became an independent Unit of General Surgery in 1969 with Dr. T.C. Feierabend as the head of the Unit. The junior staff consisted of the General Surgery Residents and House Doctors who rotated through the unit on a 2 monthly basis. In 1970 Dr. Parvez Bazliel joined Dr. Feierabend after having completed his M.S. General Surgery from the department of General Surgery.
The Plastic Surgery unit had its beds in Ward No. 3, Ward No. 2 and the Burn patients were looked after in an isolation ward close to Ward No. 3 and the Ward as named Burn Research Unit. This was possible as a part of PL 480 funds, that were available for Burn Research, especially epidemiological survey which was carried out by Dr. Feierabend and the Staff. The Unit continued to look after Head & Neck Surgery, Trauma, Hand Surgery, Cosmetic Surgery and Burn Care. In 1973, Dr. Feierabend was joined by Dr. R.N. Bindra an alumnus of Christian Medical College who had later trained in Plastic Surgery in United States under Dr. Bakamjian, Dr. Hanna and Dr. Gaisford. With Dr. Bindra joining Dr. Feierabend the department had staff and infrastructure to develop into a Unit for training in Plastic Surgery leading on to M.Ch. The University and Medical Council recognised this programme in 1974. Dr. Bazliel was the 1st trainee and he took the examination in 1975. The next candidate was Dr. V.K. Peterson who joined the department in 1976. The department gradually developed a reputation in this part of the country for its excellent surgical techniques and expertise.
Dr. Feierabend was interested in Microvascular Surgery having had basic training in Japan with Dr. Tamai. Dr. Feierabend did the 1st Microsurgical replant of an amputated finger in 1976. Subsequently this interest of his was passed on to his junior staff. Dr. Abraham G. Thomas who had rotated through the department in 1974; 1976 and 1977 as house doctor and as a Registrar while doing General Surgery joined the department for M.Ch in 1978.
There was a large turn over of patients, epscially Head & Neck Surgery including Cancer Surgery and Reconstructive Surgery. Dr. Abraham Thomas completed his M.Ch. training in 1980. He joined the department as Asst. Professor in 1980 after completing his M.Ch.
In 1982, Dr. Thomas encouraged by Dr. Feierabend and Dr. Bindra went for training in Hand Surgery and Microsurgery to Louisville U.S.A. and Ljubljana Yugoslavia, under Dr. Marko Godina. He returned in 1983 and helped start an organized Microsurgery unit in C.M.C. Hospital from 1983. Dr. Rakesh Khazanchi who was one of the bright students from General Surgery joined the department in 1980 to continue to do his M.Ch. Dr. Khazanchi subsequently joined the A.I.I.M.S. later as consultant Plastic Surgeon in Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi and is presently with the Medicity, Medanta, at Gurgaon. Dr. Rakesh Saraf joined as trainee after Dr. Khazanchi followed by Dr. Prema Dhanaraj from C.M.C. Vellore.
Dr. V. Srinivasan who was an alumunus of Christian Medical College, Ludhiana for MBBS and MS joined the department as a lecturer in 1986 after completing M.Ch from Madras. Dr. Feierabend was responsible for the growth of the Plastic Surgical Service in C.M.C. After 18 years of commendable work involving patient care and teaching and research, Dr. Feierabend retired in 1987 and proceeded to Kabul for an assignment before returning to USA.
Dr. R.N. Bindra succeeded Dr. Feierabend as Head of the Unit. The Unit was given the status of a department in 1988. Dr. Bindra with his vast knowledge, expertise and skills, encouraged the trainee general surgeons and there was an inflow of young post graduates to take up the speciality of Plastic Surgery. The trainees to follow were Dr. Hemant Day, Dr. Manoj Johar, Dr. Raja Thomas, Dr. Yugesh Caplash and Dr. Vijay Obed. Dr. R.N Bindra in 1991 decided to move over to New Delhi leaving the department with Dr. Abraham Thomas. Dr. Bindra saw the department mature into a fine centre for Burns, Hand Surgery, Microsurgery, Head & Neck Surgery and Cosmetic Surgery before handing over the responsibility to Dr. Abraham Thomas in May 1991. Dr. Thomas and team set the trend for a fast pace of development of the department in all specialities, including Cosmetic Surgery and Faciomaxillary Surgery.
The trainees who joined the department subsequently and graduated were Dr. Leo Theobald Menezes, Dr. Elvino Barretto, Dr. Anil Murarka, Dr. Ashish Gupta, Dr. Mohd. Inam Zaroo, Dr. Arun Ganguli, Dr. Ajay Abrol, Dr. Deepak Bhatti, Dr. Sharad Ramdas, Dr. Rajiv Choudhrie, Dr. Surendran Doraiswamy, Dr. Rahul Tandon and Dr. Gurinder Singh. Dr. Abraham Thomas sent Dr. Anil Murarka for training in Craniofacial Surgery with Dr. David J. David in Australia. Dr. Kulwant Singh Bhangoo from Buffalo, New York had been a visiting professor to the department updating and encouraging the work.
In 2000 the department got accreditation for fellowship training in Hand & Micro Surgery by National Board of Examinations, New Delhi. During this time the department also got attachment to Smile Train International in January 2001. The Smile Train is a US based international organisation that is devoted exclusively to helping children with cleft conditions. With this, the management of cleft lip and palate gained momentum with a significant rise in numbers. The Plastic Surgery Department runs a special Clinic to attend to cleft lip and cleft palate patients.
In January 2002 Dr. Abraham Thomas decided to move down to South handing over the department to Dr. Vijay Obed. Dr. Vijay Obed had a fellowship in Cosmetic Surgery with Dr. Bhangoo in Buffalo in New York. The trainees who subsequentlhy joined the department and completed training are Dr. Anandraj Jayanthi Mala, Dr. Abha Rani Kujur, Dr. Sanjay Sadhu, Dr. Anju Bala Dey. Dr. Nitin Sethi and Dr. Ashit Gupta passed out in 2009. Presently Dr. Kaveshver Ghura, Dr. Vikas Gupta, Dr. Raman Kumar, Dr. Amanpreet Singh, Dr. Amit Sood and Dr. Prerna Gupta are under training.
One of the highlights of postgraduate sessions have been the great emphasis on comprehensive practical training, encouraging the students to be proficient in surgery and management. Plastic Surgery has over the years developed its own subspecialities and CMC has kept pace with this trying to give the best to the trainees. Dr. Jayanthi Mala joined the department as Asst. Professor in 2005 and presently is Associate Professor. Dr. Deepak Bhatti had a useful fellowship in Burns Care and Microsurgery in Australia in 2008-09.
In the field of Burn Care the nursing staff headed by Sisters, J.I.P. Singh, Sister Goel, Sister Balbir Kaur, Sister M. Narang and Sister Agnus A. Gill have done commendable work ably assisted by burn technologists. Mr. Paramjit and Mr. Gurnam as Head Technicians. The other burn technicians have been Mr. Maha Singh, Mr. Parmanand, Mr. Mushtaq Masih, Mr. Baljit Singh, Mr. Sardul Bhatti, Mr. Baldev Singh and Mr. Rajinder Kumar. Ms Annie Awasthi has been the secretary of the department since its inception keeping a perfect record of all activities, conferences, correspondence and research work. The Microsurgery technical staff Mr Rattan Masih, Mr. David Masih and Mr. Bannu Ram have been the main co-ordinators for all surgery, laboratory work and patient care, being with the team round the clock.
Dr Abraham G Thomas returned to C.M.C. Ludhiana as Director of the Institution in 2008 and finds time to help the department whenever needed.
Today the department has a faculty of 4 Senior Consultants and 6 junior consultants and residents. The following subspecialities are covered: 1. Reconstructive Surgery 2. Burn Care 3. Cleft Surgery 4. Faciomaxillary Surgery 5. Craniofacial Surgery 6. Hand & Microsurgery 7. Cosmetic Surgery 8. Body Conlouring Surgery
The department is credited with: 1. The first Scalp replant in India 2. The First penis replant in India 3. The first testicular replant in India 4. The first total face and Scalp replant in the world 5. Original technique for penile reconstruction (Ludhiana Technique innovated by Dr. Abraham Thomas) 6. Largest series of Scalp replants in the world 7. Organized Microsurgery and replantation team and large series of replantation of amputated limbs in children. 8. Network of outreach work for reconstruictive microsurgery including cleft surgery
Dr. Abraham Thomas was one of the founder members of the Indian Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery and Brachial Plexus Surgery. The 3rd National Conference of Indian Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery was held in Ludhiana in 1999.
Dr. Vijay Obed is the founder member of Northern Chapter of Association of Plastic Surgeons of India and is also actively involved with Rotary foundation. He was the President of the Rotary Club Ludhiana North for the year 2007-08. The Rotarians have contributed to the upgradation of the Burn Unit.