Expansion of Plastic Surgical Services
(1979 - 2003)

In line with the Ministry of Health’s (Rancangan Malaysia) aim of providing coverage of plastic surgical services for the entire nation, earlier plastic surgeons made periodical visits to outlying areas. This was started by Dr S Kandiah in his “Operasi Pembedahan Pelastik” in the mid 1970’s. These trips were maintained by successive heads wherever and whenever possible despite the constraints. It was envisioned that with time, the nation would have produced enough plastic surgeons to be posted in various centres outside Kuala Lumpur. Certain hospitals were identified as key regional centres because of locality, logistics and catchment areas. Hospital Kuala Terengganu to cater for the entire east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, Hospital Sultanah Aminah in Johore Bahru for the southern region, Hospital Kuching for Sarawak and Hospital Queen Elizabeth in Kota Kinabalu for the state of Sabah. These were the initial priority locations. Penang and lpoh were considered secondary at that time in view of their vicinity to Kuala Lumpur.


While the delivery of plastic surgical services “at the point of consumption” and its ensuing advantages to local community sound attractive as a natural progression in the expansion of plastic surgery, the maintenance of continuity at these regional centres proved difficult. This was inevitable with the small pool of available plastic surgeons.


Meanwhile, a secondary but nonetheless important source of plastic surgical services was provided through the universities when individual plastic surgeons returning from overseas practised their specialty under the aegis of the general surgery departments.


Punctuated by resignations, services at various centres, both in the government and university hospitals were halted at some stage and resumed later. Otherwise, coverage was by the regional centre or from Kuala Lumpur when the situation required it. Despite starts and stops, plastic surgical services both in the government and private sectors have steadily expanded in various parts of the country over the years. This is outlined in the pages to follow.


Birth of Plastic Surgery Department and the early formative years (1970 - 1978)
Expansion of Plastic Surgical Services (1979 - 2003)
Development of Plastic Surgical Services in Malaysia

Written by: Lim Yang Kwang