Saturday, March 18, 2017

Robert Willan - modern father dermatology

Robert Willan (1757-1812) a Yorkshire born physician –practiced at the Public Dispensary in London. He was accepted founder of British Dermatology. Willan was a general practitioner but had a special interest in dermatology; his greatest achievement was the modified Plenk’s classification of skin disease.

In 1798, Willan created his book Description and Treatment of Cutaneous Disease, with help of several artists, to draw the seminal morphological scheme for the classification of skin diseases.
Prior to Robert Willan, terms were used loosely to describe skin diseases. Two doctors might use the same descriptive term to mean different appearances. Attempts to describe disease characteristics in classification were ambiguous. Willan defined precisely the term used to describe skin disease.

Willan described the morphology of skin disease in detail, such as type of lesion, the shape and size, presence or absence of umbilication, redress, color, consistency, pattern of distribution etc.

In 1808 he published the first color plates of scaling skin disease described, in his worlds, as ‘the scaly psora by a distinct appellation; for this purpose the term psoriasis’. Willan was awarded the Fothergillian Gold Medal in 1790.
Robert Willan - modern father dermatology
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