The Department of Hand and Reconstructive Microsurgery was established in 1991, but its origin dates further back.
Emeritus Professor Robert Pho joined the University Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
in 1974. Together with Professor P B Chacha, he set up a microsurgical section within the unit, the first in Southeast Asia. The team went on to achieve many medical milestones in Hand and Reconstructive Microsurgery, including the first thumb replantation in Singapore in 1977, vascularised fibular transfer in 1978, and toe transfer in 1980.
In 1985, the Hand Surgery Unit was officially established at the Singapore General Hospital. When the university staff moved to the National University Hospital in 1989, Emeritus Professor Robert Pho started a hand division within the discipline of Orthopaedic Surgery. An independent Department of Hand and Reconstructive Microsurgery was established on 1 December 1991. The founding staff were Emeritus Professor Robert Pho as Chief, Professor K Satku and Professor V P Kumar as Consultants, and Mr Kour Anam Kueh as Senior Lecturer and Senior Registrar.
Official opening ceremony of the department (13 Feb 1993)
The department was helmed by Associate Professor Lim Beng Hai from 2000 to 2004. The first fully certified hand surgeons to be trained at the department were Dr Looi Kok Poh, followed by Professor Aymeric Lim, the department chief from 2005. In 2008, Dr Peng Yeong Pin took over as chief from Professor Aymeric Lim who was appointed as NUH's Chairman, Medical Board. Under Dr Peng's leadership, the Hand and Reconstructive Microsurgery Centre (HRMC) was established. The Hand & Reconstructive Mircrosurgery Centre in Southeast Asia was officially opened in April 2011. The centre brought together staff from the Department of Hand and Reconstructive Microsurgery, Hand Occupational Therapy and a team of dedicated nursing and administrative staff. The department is currently led by Dr Mark Edward Puhaindran.