The Allentown Connection-A Tribute for Lew Jae-duk, the "Father of Korean Plastic Surgery"

Arch Plast Surg. 2023 May 29;50(3):225-232. doi: 10.1055/a-2028-6625. eCollection 2023 May.


In retrospect, the irony of this story began with the first meeting of these co-authors-in of all places, Coimbatore, India, in 2008, at the 12th International Perforator Flap Course. Here the junior author [hereafter "jp"] demonstrated his unparalleled skills in networking, and soon thereafter journeyed some 11,073 km to Allentown, U.S. to peruse the operating room and clinics of the senior author [sic. ggh] in action. Within 2 years jp orchestrated the presentation of the 14th International Perforator Flap Course, so ggh with great anticipation flew only 6,830 miles to reach Seoul, Korea for his first time. But four years more elapsed before ggh returned again to Korea to be a visiting professor, all the while not quite sure why any Korean would want anything from a country doctor who resided in nowheresville Allentown, Pennsylvania. Yet, an extraordinary fact then was to be unveiled, about which ggh was totally ignorant. The pioneer of plastic surgery in Korea, the first Korean to have completed an accredited plastic surgery fellowship, by coincidence had accomplished all this in … Allentown. The collegial relationship that evolved between these co-authors, who met by chance, indeed had a precedent coincidence! Was this "by chance" alone or predestination? Amazingly, in a way similar, the origin of plastic surgery itself in Korea also had Allentown connections. As a tribute to Lew Jae-duk, this important story must be here told, so let us now retrace his past in Allentown so we can find how the future was to be not so far away.

Keywords: Allentown; Korean plastic surgery; Lew Jae-duk.

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