Plastic surgery was started at the Gent University in January 1962 by em. Prof. Dr. Guido Matton, who had just returned from a more than 4 years stay in the USA, where he had completed a full residency in plastic, reconstructive and maxillo-facial surgery at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC and a rotation in hand surgery at Roosevelt Hospital in New York. He started plastic surgery in Gent within the department of General Surgery.
In 1970 the Faculty of Medicine at the Gent University established an independent department of Plastic Surgery, where G. Matton was appointed Professor and Chairman of the department. It was the first independent university service for plastic and reconstructive surgery in the Benelux. A resident training program was set up; the activities covered the entire field of Plastic Surgery: congenital deformities of the head and neck and of the hands, maxillo-facial trauma and tumors, hand surgery, skin tumors and defects, decubitus ulcers and aesthetic surgery.
In 1980, Prof. Dr. Matton organized a multidisciplinary team for facial cleft pathology and cranio-facial malformations. It consisted of plastic surgeons, and audiologist, a speech therapist, an orthodontist and a social worker. Monthly meetings were held for the planning of the treatment and for the follow up of the patients. The team continues its activities up to present time, now under the coordination of Prof. G. De Pauw, department of orthodontics.
After many months of exhausting planning "the Center for severely burned patients" was opened in 1985 as a part of the department of Plastic Surgery. It consists of 6 totally isolated individual units, equipped with a treatment bath. Yearly the center treats over 100 acutely burned patients.
Prof. Matton became Emeritus Professor on October 1st, 1995 and was succeeded as head of the Department of Plastic Surgery by Prof. Dr. Stan Monstrey. From 1970 till 1995, 25 Belgian plastic surgeons graduated from the training program and several foreign fellows spent various amounts of time in the department.
In June 2000 the Schola Chirurgiae Plasticae Gandavensis was founded, a circle of friens/colleagues plastic surgeons, all trained in the department of Plastic Surgery in Gent. Every year a reunion is organized to keep in touch and to exchange experiences.
At the present time, there are six fulltime staff members in the department. Under the guidance of Prof. Dr. S. Monstrey, 15 plastic surgeons completed their training.