Joel Mark Noe

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Joel Mark Noe, MD

Joel Noe (March 7, 1943 - September 13, 1991), MD, FACS, was a pioneering plastic surgeon at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts who founded one of the nation's first burn units and argon laser programs.[1] He specialized in the laser removal of birthmarks.

Noe, an Assistant Clinical Professor at Harvard Medical School, was editor of Aesthetic Surgery, the journal of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. In addition to his 54 publications in peer-reviewed journals and 22 book chapters, he was also a coeditor of Chronic Wound Problems (1983, Little, Brown and Company), Cutaneous Laser Surgery: Principles and Methods (1983, John Wiley and Sons), and Illustrated Cutaneous Laser Surgery (1990, Appleton & Lange).

A native of Boston, Noe graduated from Marblehead High School in 1961, Harvard College in 1965, and Harvard Medical School in 1969. He trained in surgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was named Outstanding Surgical Intern, and in plastic surgery at the Stanford University Medical Center[2] until 1975; in 1974-5, under the Interplast Volunteer Program, Noe performed corrective surgery on children in Latin America with birth defects such as cleft palates.

In 1977, two years after joining the Beth Israel, Noe founded and directed the hospital's burn unit and argon laser program.[3]

Wine-colored birthmarks known as capillary hemangiomas, which occur in about one out of 200 Americans, can be removed with a hand-held argon laser. Noe taught hundreds of physicians from around the world how to use the device, and appeared on Good Morning America on 11 July 1990 to discuss the use of lasers in plastic surgeries.[4]

Noe died of cancer on 13 September 1991.[5] In his memory, a youth basketball league has been named after him in his family's hometown of Brookline, Massachusetts where he volunteered as a coach for the Brookline youth basketball league.[6]


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