Born in Héric, Loire-Atlantique, Dr. Tessier first attended the Ecole de Médecine in Nantes, Loire-Atlantique, eventually receiving his Doctor of Medicine degree from the Faculté de Médecine de Paris (Paris Faculty of Medicine) in 1943. In 1942, during internship he started operating on people with cleft lip and Dupuytren's contracture. He joined the pediatric surgery service at Hospital St. Joseph in Paris in 1944. From late 1944 to 1946, he worked at the Center of Maxillofacial Surgery of the Military Region of Paris in Hospital Puteaux. In 1949, he returned to Nantes to become a surgical consultant in ophthalmology.
Dr. Tessier started to improve surgical techniques to correct craniofacial deformations in the mid-1950s. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, he developed the following methods:
- Using autogeneous (patient's own) bone grafts instead of silicone or acrylic to modify skull and facial contours.
- Transcranial and subcranial correction of orbital hypertelorism.
- Techniques for correcting Treacher Collins syndrome.
- Correction of oro-ocular clefts.
In the 1970s, he began traveling to the United States to demonstrate his procedures. Today, his techniques are applied not only to plastic and maxillofacial surgery, but also other specialties such as trauma and neurosurgery.
Dr. Tessier was a founding member of the International Society of Craniofacial Surgery and the European Association of Maxillofacial Surgeons. He was an honorary member of the American College of Surgeons, the Royal College of Surgeons at London, and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
In 2000 he was presented with the Jacobson Innovation Award.
- Dr Paul Tessier: Plastic surgeon who revolutionised the treatment of facial deformity. Obituary, The Independent. 23 June 2008
- P. Tessier et al. Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. vol. 116 (5) SUPPLEMENT, October 2005.
- S. Anthony Wolfe, "Paul Tessier, Creator of a New Surgical Specialty, is Recipient of Jacobson Innovation Award", Journal of Craniofacial Surgery, vol 12, 98-99 (2001), accessed 3 Feb 2009.