Harry J. Buncke

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Harry J. Buncke (1922 – May 18, 2008) was an American plastic surgeon who has been called "The Father of Microsurgery" for his contributions in the history and development of reconstructive microsurgical procedures. He is a past president of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, the International Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery, and the American Association of Plastic Surgery. He served as a clinical professor of surgery at both Stanford University and the University of California - San Francisco. He was the author of 15 movies and television tapes, four surgical textbooks, and more than 400 peer-reviewed publications.


Dr. Buncke attended Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and earned his medical degree from the New York Medical College in 1951.


Buncke's work began in a laboratory which he set up in his garage, using instruments and sutures he developed. In 1964, he reported a rabbit ear replantation to the Plastic Surgery Research Council Meeting in Kansas City, Kansas.[1] This was the first report of successfully using blood vessels 1 millimeter in size, an achievement previously thought to be technically impossible.

In 1966, Buncke and colleagues reported the transplantation of a monkey great toe to hand using microsurgery, a second landmark that ushered in an era where replantation of amputated digits and extremities would become widely performed.[2]

With Dr. Donald McLean, Buncke performed the first successful microvascular transplant using omentum to fill a large scalp defect In 1969.[3] 1970, Buncke founded the Buncke Clinic[4] at the Davies Medical Center in San Francisco, California. Surgeons at this clinic went on to accomplish many 'firsts', including a human toe-to-hand transplant,[5] scalp replantations,[6] serratus-combined-latissimus microvascular transplants, four-digit replantion and, in 1997, the replantation of a severed tongue.[7] It could be mentioned that Bunke's name and image were included on an USPS stamp.[8]


  1. ^ Buncke H, Schulz W (1966). "Total ear reimplantation in the rabbit utilising microminiature vascular anastomoses". Br J Plast Surg. 19 (1): 15–22. doi:10.1016/S0007-1226(66)80003-6. PMID 5909469.
  2. ^ Buncke H, Buncke C, Schulz W (1966). "Immediate Nicoladoni procedure in the Rhesus monkey, or hallux-to-hand transplantation, utilising microminiature vascular anastomoses". Br J Plast Surg. 19 (4): 332–7. doi:10.1016/S0007-1226(66)80075-9. PMID 4959061.
  3. ^ McLean D, Buncke H (1972). "Autotransplant of omentum to a large scalp defect, with microsurgical revascularization". Plast Reconstr Surg. 49 (3): 268–74. doi:10.1097/00006534-197203000-00005. PMID 4551236. S2CID 30108038.
  4. ^ "The Buncke Clinic". www.buncke.org.
  5. ^ Buncke H, McLean D, George P, Creech B, Chater N, Commons G (1973). "Thumb replacement: great toe transplantation by microvascular anastomosis". Br J Plast Surg. 26 (3): 194–201. doi:10.1016/0007-1226(73)90002-7. PMID 4726099.
  6. ^ Buncke H, Rose E, Brownstein M, Chater N (1978). "Successful replantation of two avulsed scalps by microvascular anastomoses". Plast Reconstr Surg. 61 (5): 666–72. doi:10.1097/00006534-197805000-00002. PMID 643955. S2CID 46684982.
  7. ^ Buntic R, Buncke H (1998). "Successful replantation of an amputated tongue". Plast Reconstr Surg. 101 (6): 1604–7. doi:10.1097/00006534-199805000-00026. PMID 9583492.
  8. ^ He was my surgeon in the late 70's

External links[edit]

  • Rudy Buntic; Darrell Brooks; Charles K. Lee; Greg Buncke; Harry Buncke (2006-02-26). "Microsurgery History". www.microsurgeon.org. Archived from the original on 2006-06-21. Retrieved 2006-07-08. - website part written by this surgeon.
  • CPMC.org - "Dr. Harry Buncke's reputation is legendary as the 'father of microsurgery.'" California Pacific Medical Center
  • CPMC.org - 'Pioneering Microsurgery: Offering Hope to Trauma Victims, Harry J. Buncke, MD Gregory M. Buncke, MD', California Pacific Medical Center
  • SFGate.com - 'Saving limbs is a family business at the Buncke Clinic', Sam Whiting, San Francisco Chronicle (May 21, 2006)