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“Early in my career the favourite part of my job was achieving a good surgical outcome for a challenging deformity. However, as each individual matured, I was able to follow their development and almost become part of their family. Repairing and watching a deformed child develop from a baby to an adult and see them become socially competent and successful probably gives me the most satisfaction of all.”
Tony Holmes is currently a Senior Plastic Surgeon at The Royal Children's Hospital (RCH) and Clinical Professor, Department of Paediatrics, Melbourne University. He is qualified in both General Surgery and Plastic Surgery. Tony trained in both Australia and at Harvard Medical School and was fortunate to study under some of the giants of reconstructive surgery. His Plastic and Reconstructive training included working with Ian Taylor, renowned Australian microsurgical pioneer at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and, in the Boston Children’s Hospital, training under Professor Joseph E Murray, Nobel Laureate for his role in pioneering organ transplantation.
During his nearly three years in the Harvard system, Tony also worked regularly with Paul Tessier, the French pioneer of the then new specialty of Craniofacial Surgery.
Returning to Melbourne, Tony set up Victoria’s Melbourne Craniofacial Unit in 1979 and remained Head of Unit until 2009. This unit is the largest and busiest in Australia (and probably in the southern hemisphere), and is currently headed by Jonathan Burge.
Tony was also Director of the RCH Department of Plastic and Maxillofacial Surgery from 1990 to 2003.
Tony's surgical passion is major facial reconstruction and he has refined and developed new procedures to cope with many major and difficult craniofacial and nasal reconstructive problems. Tony has presented, lectured and published extensively, nationally and internationally.
Tony has been awarded the RCH Medical Staff’s Elizabeth Turner Medal for clinical excellence (2004) and the RCH Chairman’s Medal for outstanding service (2008). In 2010 Tony was the recipient of the annual McIndoe Medal and Lectureship of the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons in London. In 2012 he was the inaugural Harvard Plastic Surgery Residency Visiting Professor in Boston.
In 2018, Tony was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for "distinguished service to medicine, particularly to reconstructive and craniofacial surgery, as a leader, clinician and educator”.
Tony has trained nearly 40 Craniofacial Fellows, the majority of whom have gone on to become Heads of Departments, here and overseas. Tony is extremely proud to be part of a wonderful team who have developed a leading world centre at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne.
In 1990 Tony set up the Melbourne Children's Craniofacial Foundation which has subsequently been re-named The Jigsaw Foundation. This Foundation supports the surgical specialist training, teaching and research relating to Craniofacial Disorders. One of the Foundation’s major achievements in recent years is the academic endowment of the University of Melbourne’s Jigsaw Professorship of Plastic and Maxillofacial Surgery. The position is currently held by Anthony Penington.
Cleft Lip and Palate Surgery, Craniofacial Surgery, Clinical Cranio-Maxillofacial Research and nasal reconstruction