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Harry J. Buncke

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'Harry J. Buncke', MD (1922- May 18, 2008) was an American plastic surgeon who has been called "The Father of Microsurgery" for his contributions in the history and development of reconstructive microsurgical procedures. [1] He is a past president of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, the International Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery, and the American Association of Plastic Surgery. He has served as a clinical professor of surgery at both Stanford University and the University of California - San Francisco. He is the author of 15 movies and television tapes, four surgical textbooks, and more than 400 peer-reviewed publications. [2]


Dr. Buncke attended Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and earned his medical degree from the New York Medical College in 1951. [3]


Buncke's work began in a laboratory which he set up in his garage, using instruments and sutures he developed. In 1964, he reported a rabbit ear replantation to the Plastic Surgery Research Council Meeting in Kansas City, Kansas.[1] This was the first report of successfully using blood vessels 1 millimeter in size, an achievement previously thought to be technically impossible.

In 1966, Buncke and colleagues reported the transplantation of a monkey great toe to hand using microsurgery, a second landmark that ushered in an era where replantation of amputated digits and extremities would become widely performed.[2]

With Dr. Donald McLean, Buncke performed the first successful microvascular transplant using omentum to fill a large scalp defect In 1969.[3][4].

In 1970, Buncke founded the Buncke Clinic [5] at the Davies Medical Center in San Francisco, California. Surgeons at this clinic went on to accomplish many 'firsts', including a human toe-to-hand transplant[4], scalp replantations[5], serratus-combined-latissimus microvascular transplants, four-digit replantion and, in 1997, the replantation of a severed tongue.[6]


  1. Buncke H, Schulz W (1966). "Total ear reimplantation in the rabbit utilising microminiature vascular anastomoses.". Br J Plast Surg 19 (1): 15–22. doi:10.1016/S0007-1226(66)80003-6. PMID 5909469. 
  2. Buncke H, Buncke C, Schulz W (1966). "Immediate Nicoladoni procedure in the Rhesus monkey, or hallux-to-hand transplantation, utilising microminiature vascular anastomoses.". Br J Plast Surg 19 (4): 332–7. doi:10.1016/S0007-1226(66)80075-9. PMID 4959061. 
  3. McLean D, Buncke H (1972). "Autotransplant of omentum to a large scalp defect, with microsurgical revascularization.". Plast Reconstr Surg 49 (3): 268–74. doi:10.1097/00006534-197203000-00005. PMID 4551236. 
  4. Buncke H, McLean D, George P, Creech B, Chater N, Commons G (1973). "Thumb replacement: great toe transplantation by microvascular anastomosis.". Br J Plast Surg 26 (3): 194–201. doi:10.1016/0007-1226(73)90002-7. PMID 4726099. 
  5. Buncke H, Rose E, Brownstein M, Chater N (1978). "Successful replantation of two avulsed scalps by microvascular anastomoses.". Plast Reconstr Surg 61 (5): 666–72. doi:10.1097/00006534-197805000-00002. PMID 643955. 
  6. Buntic R, Buncke H (1998). "Successful replantation of an amputated tongue.". Plast Reconstr Surg 101 (6): 1604–7. doi:10.1097/00006534-199805000-00026. PMID 9583492. 

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