Clinical Science Departments

The Department of Surgery at Yonsei University College of Medicine has a long history of 135 years since it was established in 1885 with the beginning of the western-style hospital in Korea, Chejungwon.

On June 13, 1885, Dr.

Horace Newton Allen published a paper titled “Surgery in the Hermit Kingdom” in the magazine The Medical Record, leaving a valuable record in the history of the Department of Surgery and the history of surgery in the country.

After Chejungwon, Severance Hospital was founded in 1904, and in 1908 seven students from the Severance Union Institute of Medicine became the school’s first graduating class.

Among the graduates was Kim Pil-sun, who published the first Korean textbook on surgery, “General Surgery Textbook.” Professor Alfred Irving Ludlow, who came to Korea as a medical missionary in 1912, joined the Department of Surgery as the first principal professor and set a framework for the field of surgery, the centerpiece of Western medicine.

He started providing patient care, specializing surgeries and systematically organizing the curriculum.

Thanks to the Korean surgeons professor Ludlow put his heart and soul into teaching, the Department of Surgery continued to grow.

Starting with Alfred Irving Ludlow from 1912 to 1933, Ko Myung-woo from 1920 to 1938, Lee Yong-seol from 1926 to 1937, Go Byeong-gan from 1937 to 1946, Noh Hyung-jin and Park Yong-won from 1946 to 1951, and Lee Yong-seol from 1952 to 1955 paved the way in the early days as heads of the department.

In 1956, the department entered its prime, led by Min Kwang-sik from 1956 to 1970, Hwang Kyu-cheol from 1970 to 1974, Kim Chun-kyu from 1974 to 1980, Hong Pil-hoon from 1980 to 1985, Lee Kyung-sik from 1985 to 1991, Min Jin-sik from 1991 to 1995, Park Ki-il from 1995 to 2001, Park Jung-soo from 2001 to 2005, Son Seung-guk from 2005 to 2009, Noh Sung-hun from 2009 to 2013, Kim Nam-gyu from 2013 to 2017, and Yoon Dong-seop from 2017 to July 2018.

Today, Professor Kim Myung-soo is the head of the department.

The Department of Surgery has undergone several changes over the years.

Until the Department of Anesthesiology was separated in 1957, there was one integrated department of surgery; in 1961, the Department of Orthopedic Surgery and the Department of Neurosurgery were separated.

In 1974, the Department of Surgery covered three sub-divisions: general surgery, thoracic surgery, and plastic surgery, but it was changed to the Division of Surgery after the Division of Plastic Surgery was separated in 1983 and the Division of Thoracic Surgery was separated in 1985.

Finally, the department was revamped to the Department of Surgery in 1993.

The Department of Surgery was promoted to the Division of Surgery in 2015.

The 9 subdivisions of hepatobiliary pancreas, thyroid and endocrine, colorectal, pediatric, gastrointestinal, breast, organ transplantation, general surgery, and traumatology were set up in Severance Hospital, while the 7 subdivisions of hepatobiliary pancreas, thyroid and endocrine, colorectal, pediatric, gastrointestinal surgery, breast surgery, and post-transplantation traumatology were set up in Gangnam Severance Hospital and have been operating ever since.

Currently, there are 83 faculty members, 26 fellows (instructors), 62 residents, 52 clinical nurses and 7 secretaries working at our three hospitals, Severance, Gangnam Severance and Yongin Severance Hospitals.

Among the departments at Severance Hospital, the Department of Surgery is recognized for its world-class surgical techniques, clinical performance, and research.

As our department is renowned for promptly adopting and applying new surgical techniques (notably, Korea’s first robot-assisted surgery in 2004), dozens of medical professionals from all over the world visit the department every year to learn new surgical techniques from our specialists in each subdivision.

Performing a total of 270,000 outpatient care and 23,000 surgeries in 2019, we have become one of the major departments in Severance Hospital at Yonsei University College of Medicine, and have published a total of 136 papers in renowned international journals.

The Department of Surgery at Yonsei University College of Medicine strives to contribute to the development of the field of study not only in Korea but in the world by cultivating medical professionals, including medical school undergraduates, graduate students, Korean and international trainees, residents and fellows, with our distinguished programs that integrate patient care, research, and disease prevention.

Our faculty members are playing an important role in student education by participating both in required and elective courses as professors, and a curriculum in which students choose and manage his/her practices was introduced in the Department of Surgery in 2016 and has been successfully implemented.

Based on our research-centered patient management and various surgical techniques and experiences, we will continue to improve our performance and break new ground.