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Charles Michel (ophthalmologist)

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Charles Michel (1832-1913) was an American ophthalmologist best known for publishing the first clinical report of successful electrology in 1875.

Early life and education


Michel was born in Charleston, South Carolina. He received an M.D. degree at the Medical College of the State of South Carolina (now known as Medical University of South Carolina) in 1857. During the Civil War he served in Confederate Army as a surgeon and medical inspector.[1]



After the war and until his death, Charles Michel spent practicing ophthalmology in St. Louis, Missouri. He eventually became a Professor of Ophthalmology at the Missouri Medical College and a surgeon and ophthalmic surgeon at Eye, Ear, Nose, and Throat Infirmary and at Martha Parsons Hospital for Children respectively, in St. Louis, Missouri.[1]



Michel was practicing in St. Louis, Missouri, when he began using a battery-powered needle epilator to treat trichiasis (ingrown eyelashes) in 1869. This direct current–powered method was called electrolysis because a chemical reaction in the hair follicle causes sodium hydroxide to form, which damages the follicle.[2] Electrolysis is also sometimes called galvanic electrolysis.[3]


  1. ^ a b Jean-Paul Wayenborgh (2001). IBBO-International Biography and Bibliography of Ophthalmologists and Visual. p. 112.
  2. ^ Wagner RF Jr, Brysk H, Tyring SK. Revisiting the Michel/Green controversy of 1879: was Carron du Villards the first to use probe/needle electrolysis for permanent hair destruction? International Journal of Dermatology 1997 Dec;36(12):947-51.
  3. ^ Michel CE. Trichiasis and distichiasis; with an improved method for radical treatment. St. Louis Clinical Record, 1875 Oct; 2:145-148.