India is considered the birthplace of Plastic Surgery. Since the Vedic ages and the Mughal era various accounts of plastic surgical procedures have been described from the Indian subcontinent. The first documented plastic surgical procedure to be performed in Kolkata was by Dr. Frederick Brett, who worked for the Bengal Medical Service and published a book with detailed images of a forehead flap for nose reconstruction in the year 1840.
The first plastic surgeon, who received modern medical training from England was Dr Murari Mohan Mukherji (1914 – 1988). He was instrumental in setting up the first independent civilian plastic surgical department in the country in the year 1956 at the SSKM hospital in Kolkata. The department was inaugurated in the august presence of two luminaries Dr Bidhan C Roy and Jawaharlal Nehru. Famous hand surgeon Sir Benjamin Rank was specifically invited by Dr Bidhan C Roy to help Dr Mukherji in setting up the department. This was an year prior to a similar department being set up in Nagpur by Dr C Balakrishnan.
The department of plastic surgery at SSKM hospital has grown since those early days are produced remarkable plastic surgeons over the years. Dr. Sisir Deb, Dr, Gurudas Mukherjee, Dr. Amit Ganguli (1931-2005), Dr. Ratna Sen, Dr. Debmalaya Bannerjee, Dr. Sankar Prasad Sen, Dr. Samir Bannerjee, Dr. Shila Rohatgi, Dr. Bankim Chandra, Dr. Chhanda Banerjee, Dr. Sankar Chatterjee, Dr. Asim Roy and Dr Siti Roychowdhury have contributed tremendously to the development of plastic surgery in West Bengal.
Eventually, plastic surgical units were set up in the Medical College Hospital, Kolkata and JNM Hospital, Kalyani in 1960 and 1966 respectively. In 1974 an independent department of plastic surgery was setup by Dr Amit Ganguli in Medical College Calcutta. But it was only in 1980 that all seven medical colleges existing in the state of West Bengal had their own plastic surgical units, regularly performing plastic surgical procedures. It was around this time (1979) that the M.Ch course in plastic surgery was finally started at SSKM hospital. Dr. Bankim Chandra, Dr. Samir Bannerjee and Dr. Debmalya Bannerjee were among the first surgeons to be awarded with the M.Ch. degree in plastic surgery of University of Calcutta in 1981.
In addition to the government facilities, various private healthcare facilities have also setup advanced departments of Plastic Surgery in West Bengal. These Departments of Plastic Surgery have also substantially increased the standard of plastic surgery in the state.