Skip to main content

MedUni Vienna mourns the loss of Hanno Millesi

Professor for Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery died at the age of 90
All News

With the death of Dr. Hanno Millesi, the Medical University has lost a pioneering surgeon and a trailblazer in his field. The staff at the Medical University of Vienna's Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery mourn the loss of Univ. Prof. Dr. Hanno Millesi and we offer our sincere condolences to his family.

Hanno Millesi was born in Villach on 24 March 1927, the son of a doctor. He studied medicine at the Medical Faculty of the University of Innsbruck where he gained his Doctor medicinae universae on 17 March 1951 and, after working in the pathology department of the Wilhelminen Hospital, he joined the surgical staff of the Department of Surgery I in Vienna under the direction of Professor Leopold Schönbauer. He started his training in plastic surgery in Vienna in 1955 with a residence in Sweden under Dr. Alan Ragnell. Due to his extensive research into the pathogenesis and treatment of Dupuytren's contracture, Professor Millesi was awarded his postdoctoral qualification in 1967 and in 1972 he was appointed associate professor and head of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery of the Department of Surgery.  Professor Hanno Millesi was appointed Director of the newly founded Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Experimental Plastic Surgery in 1975 and became a full professor in 1982. He retired from Vienna University Hospital on 30 September 1995 and then went on to become medical director of Vienna private hospital in 1996.

Professor Millesi was one of the first surgeons to use microvascular techniques in plastic surgery and in 1974 he provided a replantation service in his clinic, the first of its kind in Europe. From 1964 onwards he performed plexus brachialis surgery and published fundamental works on this topic. Prof. Millesi revolutionised and popularised the field of peripheral neural surgery: examples of this include interfascicular nerve grafting, microsurgical neurolysis, Millesi classification.
Professor Millesi wrote more than 150 scientific publications, as well as important reference books, which are regarded as standard works in medical literature. He became an honorary member of many professional societies such as the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, the Association Espagnola de Microchirurgia, the Hungarian Society for Surgery of the Hand, the German Society for Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the German-speaking Working Group for Peripheral Nerve and Vascular Microsurgery, to name but a few.

Because of his achievements, he enjoyed international recognition and received countless prestigious awards. For example, he was awarded the Eiselsberg Prize in 1972, the Anniversary Prize of the German Society of Surgery in 1974 and the Commendatore dell’Ordine della Republica Italiana in 1982. He also received the Golden Honorary Medal of the City of Vienna, the Dieffenbach Relief and, in 1992, he was elected corresponding member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. He held the Carinthia Grand Decoration in Gold, the Paracelsus Ring of the City of Villach and the Grand Decoration of Honour for Services to the Austrian Republic. Furthermore, Professor Hanno Millesi was the recipient of the International Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery's Millennium Award and he was appointed Doctor honoris causa of the Medical Academy of Wrocław in Poland. In 1989 he founded the Austrian Society of Hand Surgery. He was an internationally acclaimed pioneer in hand surgery. In 1989 he founded the Austrian Society of Hand Surgery. Surgical techniques he developed in the field of nerve transplantation and microsurgery set completely new standards, which are recognised worldwide and have made him a memorable pioneer of plastic and reconstructive surgery. We mourn the loss of an outstanding human being.


Univ. Prof. Dr. Christine Radtke
Head of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery of the Medical University of Vienna