In the late 1960s, Paris-based surgeon Dr. Paul Tessier developed new surgical techniques for reconstructing heads and faces that would ultimately become recognized as a new surgical subspecialty: craniofacial surgery. He trained a handful of highly qualified young surgeon around the world, and new insights and surgical techniques were rapidly developed. These procedures changed the landscape of plastic surgery, and with them, children with major facial birth defects, tumors and post-traumatic injuries could lead more normal lives.
Innovations in craniofacial surgery
Dr. Kenneth E. Salyer, who practiced in Dallas, Texas, introduced craniofacial surgery to the southwestern United States. In September 1972, he performed the first major intracranial surgical correction of hypertelorism in the American West. He initiated the first craniofacial fellowship in the U.S. in 1979, at a time when he had begun to perform hundreds of craniofacial surgeries each year in Dallas.
Opening a world-class surgery center
In the mid-1980s, Dr. Salyer and his hand-picked team of fellow surgeons, medical professionals, and staff set out to develop a craniofacial surgical institute of unparalleled international quality in Dallas. In 1986, the International Craniofacial Center opened its doors.
Three years later, Dr. Salyer established the World Craniofacial Foundation to help treat children around the globe with no medical or financial resources. The foundation helped many hundreds of children over the following years. And when an article about Dr. Salyer’s work appeared in the December 1996 issue of Parade magazine, the foundation’s support and influence grew exponentially.