Jacques C. van der Meulen (June 20, 1929 – April 14, 2017) started his training to become a general surgeon in 1956 (The Hague). Van der Meulen finished as a plastic surgeon in Roterdam (1964).

  • Emeritus hoogleraar prof. dr. J.C.H.M. van der Meulen
  • Schermafbeelding 2012-10-18 om 14.25.41 Schermafbeelding 2012-10-18 om 14.25.41 Emeritus hoogleraar prof. dr. J.C.H.M. van der Meulen
  • Dr. Johannes Fredericus Samuel Esser Dr. Johannes Fredericus Samuel Esser Dr. Johannes Fredericus Samuel Esser
  • Dr. Esser in the middle of his medical team Dr. Esser in the middle of his medical team Dr. Esser in the middle of his medical team

Why this change?

To understand his motivation it is important to know that this new specialty was like a princess that slept for many centuries. This in spite of the fact that a few people had been aware of her creative potential but never able to explore this potential by wakening her.

Sadly enough two wars were needed to achieve this goal.

In WWI it was the Dutchmen Esser who as a war surgeon formulated the principles that were to provide a basis for succesfull reconstructive surgery.

His fame spread rapidly but WWII intervened and with it other pioneers in France, The US and the U.K. entered the scene.  Reconstructive surgery made a solid start by caring for the many wounded.

In the Netherlands, plastic surgery was still virtually non-existent in the years following the war. Some surgeons however were aware of the progress made in other countries and they visited centers in England for further training.

Raadsveld in Rotterdam had been one of them and when van der Meulen became his partner in 1964 their practice involved several hospitals.

The new Dijkzigt Hospital, the Eye Hospital  and The Sophia Childrens Hospital.

In the hospitals most of the “state of the art” successes as well as the failures of reconstructive surgery could be observed.

And the failures soon became more interesting then the successes.

Questions were raised;

How exactly do wounds heal?

How to guarantee the survival of grafts in burnsurgery?

How to prevent adhesions in tendonsurgery?

How to avoid complications in hypospadiassurgery?

How to provide an adequate bloodsupply?

And the answers to these and other questions frequently required a study of the anatomy.


But the answers came and they were followed by results. New techniques and new subspecialties (cranio-facial, orbital-palpebral and microvascular) surgery developed. The creative potential of the sleeping princess could no longer be denied.

Van der Meulen always felt fortunate that he lived and worked in of the most exciting periods of surgical evolution. He is also feels grateful that he was able to contribute in different areas of interest. They can ben summarized in the following manner;

  1. Wondhealing
  2. Handsurgery
  3. Genitalsurgery
  4. (Cranio)-facialsurgery
  5. Orbital-palpebralsurgery

This website provides a summary of the more important articles written by this surgeon. It also shows examples of patients that were operated on using the advocated techniques.