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Biographical entry Hynes, Wilfred (1903 - 1991)

MRCS 1927; FRCS 1930; MB ChB Leeds 1927; LRCP 1927.

January 1903
Plastic surgeon


Wilfred Hynes was born in Leeds in January 1903, educated at Leeds Grammar School and graduated from Leeds University Medical School with first class honours in 1927, gaining the primary FRCS as a student. After a period as resident anaesthetist at Sheffield Royal Hospital he trained in surgery, and was appointed honorary consultant in general surgery in 1934.

Volunteering for military service at the outbreak of war, he served in the RAMC in West Africa, Normandy, the Netherlands and Germany, reaching the rank of lieutenant colonel. Having seen, early in the war, the need for reconstructive surgery, he trained in plastic surgery under Sir Harold Gillies. Later he was to lead a front-line maxillofacial unit, for which he was twice mentioned in despatches. He was seconded briefly to the Canadian forces to pass on his expertise.

He opened a new plastic surgery unit at the Royal Hospital, Sheffield, within a week of his demobilisation in 1945. The following decades saw expansion and innovation, with the achievement of original work which was recognised internationally. His repair of cleft palate and pharyngoplasty provided the basis for a Hunterian lecture in 1953, and other major contributions included the reassessment of circulation in skin tubes and flaps, work on skin shaving and grafting and the use of free grafts of dermis.

His interest in hydronephrosis dated from his time as a general surgeon. This led to cooperation with his urologist colleague, Jock Anderson, and the development of the Hynes-Anderson pyeloplasty. Although this was first developed to deal with the rare anomaly of a retrocaval ureter, its sound plastic surgical principles and its practical success led to its being adopted internationally. By the time he retired Wilfred Hynes had created a major academic unit in plastic surgery.

In addition to his Hunterian professorship he was a member of Council, President of the British Association of Plastic Surgeons, and in his 86th year was made Honorary Member of the Craniofacial Society of Great Britain.

Privately, he was a quiet, solitary man. His retirement years were spent in thought and analysis of life, and he enjoyed walking and playing the piano. His wife Agnes died eighteen months before him; he was survived by his two sons, Peter, a dental surgeon, and David, a professor of radiology in Canada, six grandchildren (one training in surgery) and two great-grandchildren.

Sources used to compile this entry: [BMJ 1991 302 1075; Br J Plast Surg 1991 44 551, with portrait].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England