Erich Lexer

Born 1867-05-22
Died 1937-12-04

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German surgeon, born May 22, 1867, Freiburg im Breisgau; died December 4, 1937.

Biography of Erich Lexer

Erich Lexer was born in Freiburg in Breisgau, where his father, Matthias von Lexer (1830-1892),  was a university teacher in Germanistics. Erich Lexer studied in Freiburg and Würzburg, obtaining his doctorate at the latter in 1889. He was licensed in 1890 (Approbiert) and subsequently worked for as brief period of time as an assistant in the anatomical institute in Göttingen under the anatomist Friedrich Sigmund Merkel (1945-1919 and then spent eleven years  in the Berlin surgical clinic under Ernst von Bergmann  (1836-1907).

Lexer was habilitated for surgery in Berlin 1898 and promoted to professor extraordinary in 1902, becoming head of the surgical policlinic 1904. In 1899 he married Rosa Leiden, the daughter of a merchant. Their daughter Erika was born in 1900, their son Wolfgang in 1902, in 1906 the son Gernot and the daughter Gunda in 1910.

In 1905 he assumed the chair of surgery at the Albertina University in Königsberg, 1910 in at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena.

With the outbreak of World War I Erich Lexer, being head physician to the navy – Genraloberarzt der Marine -  first stationed in Hamburg and later in Flandern. Subsequently he was made head of the surgical clinic in Jena. In 1919 he was invited to the Albert Ludwig University in Freiburg, where he stayed until 1928 when he became director of the university surgical clinic in Munich. Already within a year he wa elected head of the Bavarian Surgical Association - Bayerischer Chirurgenvereinigung. In 1936 he was elected to the Leopoldina.

Lexer is remembered for his introduction of surgical techniques concerning plastic and cosmetic surgery. He is credited for his pioneering work involving transblepharoplasty; more popularly known as "forehead lift" surgery. In 1906 he performed one of the earliest facelift operations. In 1921 he pioneered a technique for mammaplastic surgery that later became popular in the 1950s. Lexer is also credited as the first physician to advocate subcutaneous mastectomy for treatment of fibrocystic breast disease.

Today, the Erich Lexer Clinic for Aesthetic-Plastic Surgery in Freiburg is named in his honour.

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