Varaztad Kazanjian, Founding Father of Modern Plastic Surgery

Varaztad Kazanjian, Founding Father of Modern Plastic Surgery

“Do it just right.”

Who he was

Varaztad Kazanjian was a revolutionary in the field of plastic surgery. His groundbreaking use of medical technology in eliminating facial deformities and reconstructing faces after injuries was widely lauded during his lifetime. He is remembered as one of the pioneers of the field. 

An escapee of the Hamidian massacres in Turkey, Kazanjian arrived in the United States as a refugee. He was able to gain admission to Harvard Dental School and soon established himself as a talented maxillofacial surgeon. However, it was during World War I, where he was a member of the Harvard Unit, that he made a name for himself. After treating more than 3,000 cases of battlefield injuries to the face, he was celebrated as the “Miracle Man of the Western Front.” For his efforts, King George of the United Kingdom bestowed upon Kazanjian the honor of the Order of St. Michael and St. George.

After World War I, Kazanjian returned to Harvard University to complete his medical degree and began to practice in the burgeoning field of plastic surgery. He became the first professor of plastic surgery at Harvard Medical School and went on to publish over 150 articles on the subject throughout his career. Kazanjian would go on to receive many awards and honors from his peers and professional associations, including the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

Interesting fact

In addition to his other nicknames, he was called “magician” by Sigmund Freud.

Learn more about him

Harvard University’s Center for the History of Medicine