Written by David Soutar
David Soutar studied Medicine at the University of Aberdeen, graduating in 1972. He trained in Pathology and General Surgery before being appointed as a Registrar in Plastic Surgery at Canniesburn Glasgow in January 1978. He was encouraged into Head and Neck Surgery by Ian T Jackson and Ian McGregor and into Microsurgery by Tom Gibson and Martyn Webster. He developed his Microsurgical expertise during a 3 month fellowship with Edgar Biemer in Munich and was subsequently appointed as a Consultant in Plastic Surgery (Head and Neck) at Canniesburn in November 1981. He became Clinical Director in 1996 and a senior medical manager as Chairman of the Division of Trauma and related Services in 2000.
In April 1982, he performed the first case of intraoral reconstruction using a Radial Forearm Flap and the subsequent publication in the British Journal of Plastic Surgery (BJPS 36.1-8 1983) is reputably the most cited publication in the world of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. This was to lead the way for routine microvascular reconstruction in Head and Neck Oncology. Trained in Oncology, General and Plastic Surgery, he was equally interested in both Excision and Reconstruction and in cancer survival and quality of life. His philosophy of tissue preservation, to improve rehabilitation, led him to further develop mandible and other bone-sparing techniques, the role of selective neck dissection and Sentinel Node Biopsy. Immediate and more accurate reconstruction was his mantra. Throughout his career he attracted Head and Neck fellows from differing specialties and from all over the world and teaching, training, research, development and improvement remained his key objectives.
He published extensively with 4 books, over 30 book chapters and over 90 publications in peer reviewed journals. He enjoys an international reputation in Plastic Surgery and in the wider community of Head and Neck Surgery and has received many awards and honours. He is an honorary member of 9 differing societies or associations throughout the world. He has been involved in the development of teaching, training and provision of services in Britain and Europe and has served as President of The British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS), The European Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (EURAPS), and The British Association of Head and Neck Oncologists (BAHNO).
In retirement he continues to be active in research and education.