This institute was started as the department of Plastic and Reconstructive surgery in 1971 by Prof. R. Venkataswami with 20 Special beds. The primary motto of our department has been “WORK TO SERVE”. Now, the department has seen tremendous growth now it has 120 beds and its own two storey building.

The Institute for Research and Rehabilitation of Hand and Department of Plastic Surgery (IRRH & DPS) has been regarded as a “center of excellence” for treating various types of injuries and disorders of the hand, providing highly specialised and comprehensive care for these patients. Apart from hand surgery, the department also caters to the needs of patients requiring General plastic surgery, Cosmetic surgery, trauma, and Reconstructive Micro-surgery.

IRRH & DPS is one of the few super-speciality departments in Stanley medical college to have a dedicated building. There is a team of dedicated plastic surgeons, anaesthesiologists, physiatrists, physiotherapists, pharmacist, nursing staff, and social worker who work together everyday to bring quality care to both out patients and in patients.


1st phase: 1971

A head quarters for the unit was located in ward 13 and with a corridor and dressing theatre. Prof US Nayak was the senior assistant professor. They decided to commit themselves to develop the best possible unit of plastic surgery concentrating on meticulous recording of patient's details, provision of good facilities to patients in terms of good infrastructure, Sanitation and above all state of art patient care with professional excellence. A separate photographic equipment was acquired for photographic records for all patients.

At the end 1971 an annual report with all the activities of the year was brought out to assess our progress and to place it before the concerned higher authorities to ask for further help.


2nd phase: 1972 to 1974

1972- First year statistics showed a large number of hand injuries badly managed in other areas and referred to plastic surgery. It was appalling to see the badly managed cases of hand injuries. This state of affairs made Prof. R. Venkataswami to think that it is a god given opportunity to take the cause of hand injuries and remembered his father's golden words.

"If ever you join government service do something positive and lasting that will serve the Community”

Prof. RV coined the phrase “Hand Injury Service” and sent a comprehensive proposal to government to start the hand injury service. The Dean, Director and Health Secretary realised the value of such a service and sanctioned to run a 24x7 hand injury service first of its kind in the country. Thanks to Prof. P. R. Ramachandran the then dean who handed over a new ward to accommodate 20 beds for the hand injury victims.

This new service necessitated to put in place a system that is simple, effective and economical without compromising the standards of treatment.

1. To bypass the casualty a “RED LINE” from the casualty to the hand injury service was drawn. In few minutes they should reach this service. This redline drew the attention and appreciation of national and international surgeons.
2. Reception and registration at the service - 24x7
3. General body clean up since they happen in industry roads and other sites
4. Examination, assessment, consultation and planning.
5. Preparation by a designated barber.
6. 24x7 dedicated theatre for surgery to cut short all the delays.
7. Post surgery admission in hand injury ward or as outpatient.
8. Rehabilitation under the same roof.

Every step was for the benefit of the patient and for state of art carefully trained staff dedicated to man this service was put in place. This phase needed a separate hand injury ward, a theatre and a rehabilitation wing which were provided

Thanks to Hon'ble minister K. Anbalagan who sanctioned this service inaugurated it on 10-1-1974


Phase III: 1975 to 1982

From 1974 to 1982 the number of hand injuries and general plastic surgical cases were mounting. After working in the small 29x9 emergency operation theatre that was housed in a corridor where 30,000 hand injuries were operated we got a new theatre complex and a full fledged space housing physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and splint workshop which was inaugurated in 1982. In addition it housed a conference room and doctors rest room. We had five operating rooms - two for hand emergencies, one for microsurgery and two for elective plastic surgical cases. A unique system of transfer of patients to and from OT was incorporated in a very simple way by creating a large window space. There was an exclusive space for a rehabilitation wing.

1976- An important path breaking event of the department was introducing experimental microsurgery. Mr.Peter Nathan of Portland USA, a microsurgeon showed us the technique of microvascular anastomosis in rats with a microscope borrowed from ENT Department. Thus microsurgery became an integral part of the unit. It took another 4 years for the clinical microsurgery

Our first replant was an amputated thumb by Dr. Nirmala Subramanian, assistant professor in the department in 1979 at the emergency theatre. She was sent for training in St.Vincent Hospital Melbourne, Australia.

The first free tissue transfer was a wrap around flap by Prof. RV in 1981

In 1977 the department organised the 5th annual conference of the Indian Society for surgery of the hand and this was inaugurated by Hon'ble Chief minister of Tamil Nadu Dr. M.G. Ramachandran other notable visitors were Mr. Landsmeir of Belgium, a great anatomist and Dr. H. Srinivasan an innovative hand surgeon from Chengalpattu. Prof. RV received the Peet Prize from Association of Plastic Surgeons of India for the best paper on "Reconstructive surgery of the thumb".

In 1978 a comprehensive cleft lip and palate clinic involving the plastic surgeon, dental surgeon, paediatrician, ENT surgeon and a social worker was organised. First of its kind in this part of India. M.Ch. in Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery was started in this year. Two candidates every year were selected. Many of the post graduates from the department have done extremely well in later life. Some of them have created excellent departments and four of them became presidents of APSI and other organisations. Madras Refineries donated a Weck operating microscope and this was a great booster for our microsurgery work.

1979 - Prof RV visited AO International at the invitation of Prof. Willinegar of A.O international on who had seen the work of our department

The department was designated as Department of Plastic Surgery and Reconstructive Hand Surgery" by our government.

1980- Sir Benjamin Rank the father of plastic surgery, Australia visited the department and paid great-tributes.

1981- The first microsurgical service was organised the first of its kind in the country.

1982- The new theatre complex in the first floor with the rehabilitation centre in the ground floor was completed and occupied. This was great landmark as we could bring every aspect of our infrastructure under one roof.

IV phase: 1983 to 1990

1983- The prestigious Col. Pandalai Oration of ASI was awarded to Prof. RV based on the work of the department. The Association of surgeons of India was stormed with 6 projector presentation on "Reconstructive surgery of hand following trauma. This drew the attention of surgeons at the national level.

1984- Prof RV was elected as the president of the Indian society for surgery of the hand and IXth annual conference of the ISSH was hosted by our department and this was inaugurated by his excellency the governor of Tamil Nadu Mr.Khurana. This year also marked a decade of hand surgery at the department

1985- The department hosted a AO course on hand skeleton and the faculty were Mr Segmiller from Switzerland and Mr.Jesse Jupiter of Boston USA. This year a 2 year certificate course on hand surgery was started and two candidate joined and one was from Indonesia This course was open to orthopaedic and general surgeons.

Around 20 Australian plastic surgeons visited our department this year. They were so impressed that their visit paved the way for exchange of post graduates between both the countries, Mr Ian Patterson came to spend a year as part of post graduate course of FRACS 1987- The 2nd floor of the hand injury service was built on a donation by Arcot Hanumatha Rao Trust. This was facilitated by Honourable Justice G. Ramanujam. This housed 20 beds for women and children and in addition a microsurgery lab, Artist room, Social Workers Room. A Library and 4 rooms for trainees and post graduates.

The government of Tamil Nadu upgraded the department as "Institute for Research and Rehabilitation of Hand and the department of Plastic surgery. The growing recognition of the institute was conferring of the state of art lecture on Prof RV by International confederation of plastic surgeons and Prof RV delivered a lecture at the IX congress held in New Delhi on Current concepts in Repair and Reconstruction of Hand". Following the congress Prof Dr. Dieter Buck Gramco of Germany and MR BGH Lamberty of UK visited the department and conducted a symposium on surgery of the hand.

Dr.G.Balakrishnan Asst Professor in the department was awarded the Peet prize for the best paper on "Radial artery flaps”.

1988- British Hand Society invited Prof RV as the guest speaker of their annual meeting In 1989 he was invited as the guest of honour at the combined meeting by the Australian Hand Club and Singapore hand society held at Singapore.





Vth and final phase of the two decades of work of Prof RV and his remarkable in the department. 1990-1991

20 more beds and two more large British words were added. A comparison of 1971 and 1991 shows the steady growth of the Institute in term of space, staff and clinical cases The institute with all its heavy work load could contribute to the academic achievement. New operative procedures and clinical entities were innovated

They are as follows:

1. Oblique triangular flap
2. Staged Island flap.
3. Bilobed groin flap.
4. Thumb web burst

In order to develop human resources and expand the services on this very specialized Hand and Microsurgical services, this Institute is divided into two separate departments namely, Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the Institute for Hand and Reconstructive Microsurgery, thus committed to the society to establish a new post graduate higher specialty course in M Ch Hand and Reconstructive Microsurgery and making the service more accountable and opened a new chapter in the management of a very important Regional Anatomical Organ -The Hand. 

This institute has become the Nodal Training Center for Hand and Microsurgery and conducts a Statewide Training Programme for medical officers and paramedical staffs from all levels of health care delivery system in Tamil Nadu with NRHM aid. 

This institute has been permitted to Initiate The State Of Art Reconstructive Surgery, Hand Transplantation and thus became the HAND TRANSPLANTION CENTRE, the first of its kind in the Indian sub continent in 2010.

The Institute for hand and reconstructive microsurgery has received the NATIONAL AWARD 2010 For THE BEST INSTITUTION in recognition of the outstanding performance in the Held of empowerment of persons with disabilities in Dec,2010.

Six days a week out patient service except Sundays, Special Hand Clinics called SEARCH, (Specialized Evaluation And Research Clinics on the Hand ) Electronic presentation of Daily Morning Conference, Pain Management Clinic , Neurophysiology lab with EMG and NCS facilities, Microsurgery Training and Research Lab , Fully computerized networking of the department with computerized registration in the MRD and emergency reception are some of the features added to the department in 2010.

Milestones of Development




   Block number 701,Govt. Stanley Medical College and Hospital, old Jail Road,
Chennai - 600001 India.

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