About The Department
Our VisionThe Department of Surgery aspires to be a world leader in research, education and healthcare.
Our MissionTo strive for the highest standards of teaching of students and doctors, clinical and basic research, and delivery of patient care, and in so doing, to be recognised in Hong Kong and internationally, as a world class Department of Surgery.
The history of surgery in Hong Kong for more than a century has been intricately linked with the development of surgery and surgical education at the Department of Surgery of the University of Hong Kong and its predecessor institution, the Hong Kong College of Medicine. The following personalities led the surgical department since the inception of the Hong Kong College of Medicine:
1888 - 1889
Professor G.P. Jordan
1889 - 1896
Professor (Sir) James Cantlie
Professor J. Cantlie graduated from Aberdeen in Scotland and pursued a career of missionary and medicine. He came to Hong Kong in 1887 and became a co-founder of the Hong Kong College of Medicine for Chinese. His great experience in teaching in London provided a solid foundation for the new medical school. His favorite student of the time was Sun Yat-sen. Professor Cantlie is well-recognized in literature for ‘Cantlie’s line’ which delineates the surgical anatomy of the liver. (Cantlie J. A new arrangement of the right and left lobes of the liver. J. Anat. Physiol 1898; 32:4-9). "He studied liver abscess and its complications comprehensively. Professor Cantlie described the procedure of draining the abscess by tapping with satisfactory results. For many years his method has been described in surgical textbooks". (Extract from book ‘A Romance in Medicine’) After leaving the Hong Kong College of Medicine, he kept his contacts with Dr. Sun Yat-sen and followed up on his professional and political career. He played a key role in securing the release of Sun who had been abducted and held prisoner in the Chinese Legation in London. Professor Cantlie survived to see his student becoming the first president of Republic of China. Professor Cantlie died in 1926.
1896 - 1897
Professor J.C. Thompson
1897 - 1905
Professor A. Rennie
1905 - 1912
Professor W.V.M. Koch
1915 - 1945
Professor K.H. Digby
Professor K.H. Digby graduated in London. He joined the University of Hong Kong in 1913 as a Professor of Anatomy and later became Professor of Surgery. He was a meticulous surgeon who operated with perfect anatomical dissection. (These were the days of surgery with no antibiotics.) Professor Digby’s obsession with ‘no touch technique’ during operation were often mentioned and remembered. His long tenure of more than 30 years as professor and head of the department ended with his internment during WWII. He entered private practice after the war, and was appointed as an Emeritus Professor until his death in 1954.
1945 - 1948
Professor J. Cray (acting)
1948 - 1963
Professor F.E. Stock
1964 - 1982
Professor G.B. Ong
Professor Guan Bee Ong joined the University of Hong Kong where he completed his medical studies in 1947 and early surgical training. Later, he proceeded to the United Kingdom and obtained the Fellowships of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons of England and Edinburgh. In 1964, he assumed the Chair of Surgery at the University and Head of the Department of Surgery at Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong and he was the first ethnic Chinese to hold this position.
During his brilliant career at the University, his surgical Department at the Queen Mary Hospital became renowned as a centre of excellence for innovative surgery of the oesophagus, liver, biliary tract diseases, and cancer of the head and neck. He pioneered several new techniques such as transphenoidal approach to the pituitary gland, transoral approach to the upper cervical spine, transhiatal dissection of the oesophagus and oesophagogastric anastomoses in the neck, Roux-en-Y choledochojejunostomy, and retroperitoneal approach to the common bile duct and urinary bladder reconstruction using isolated stomach.
Professor Ong earned a huge international reputation as an outstanding surgeon, master technician, inspirational teacher and a charismatic leader. He was a most sought-after speaker at major international surgical conferences and a visiting professor to leading medical schools. When he left the public service, he had published over 250 scientific papers, more than 10 books and monographs and performed over 10,000 major operations.
Many a surgeon, preferring a more relaxed life after having retired from hectic academic life, but he continued an active private surgical practice in Hong Kong for many years till he was diagnosed with liver cancer in 1999. He bore his illness with great courage and finally succumbed in January 2004.
1983 - 2008
Professor John Wong
Professor J. Wong is a graduate of the University of Sydney and came to Hong Kong in 1975. After the retirement of Professor Ong in 1982, Professor Wong took over the reigns of the department. The department’s stature, reputation and standards have blossomed under his leadership with a spectacular rise in its standing in the surgical world. The department has become a place of excellence in esophageal surgery, living-related liver transplants and head and neck surgery. In the field of education, the Hong Kong Medical Council has singled out the Department of Surgery for its innovations and initiatives in medical education as a model for others to follow.
In spite of all the personal efforts and vision which Professor Wong has put into uplifting the prestige of the department and its international recognition, he believes in a corporate image, and takes no personal credit for its glory.
2008 - 2011
Professor S.T. Fan
Professor S.T. Fan graduated from The University of Hong Kong in 1976. Before taking up the position of Head of Department in July 2008, Professor Fan had been Chief of Divisions of Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery and Liver Transplantation. In 1991, he performed the first successful liver transplant in Hong Kong. In 1996, he and his liver transplant team performed the first successful adult-to-adult right liver living donor liver transplantation in the world. His extensive research on liver transplantation and common liver diseases in Asia, namely, hepatocellular carcinoma, hepatitis B, cirrhosis, intrahepatic stones, and acute biliary pancreatitis, has led to the development of new treatment methods that significantly improve patient outcomes and are widely adopted.
A highly respected surgeon, scientist and teacher, Professor Fan sets himself as a role model for junior colleagues to follow. His generous sharing of enormous clinical and research experiences is a precious gift for both the local and international medical communities. While fostering the young talent, Professor Fan pledges to bring the Department toward new horizons of clinical and academic excellence.
2011 - 2017
Professor C.M. Lo
Professor C.M. Lo graduated from The University of Hong Kong and received surgical training at Queen Mary Hospital. He was appointed Chair Professor at The University of Hong Kong in 2004 and is currently Chin Lan-Hong Professor in Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery. He took up the headship of the Department of Surgery in July 2011. He is internationally renowned for his achievements in hepatobiliary surgery. By virtue of his outstanding clinical skills, innovation, leadership and quest for excellence, his pioneering work in adult right-lobe living donor liver transplant has revolutionized the practice of liver transplantation world-wide and has put Hong Kong and China on the world map of liver transplantation.
Professor Lo’s enthusiasm and novelty in research is most instrumental in cultivating an explorative and investigative ambiance in the Department. Not only being directive in research, he also views it as his life-long obligation to breed the young surgeons by transferring his knowledge and expertise through education and sharing. His passion has contributed greatly to the advancement of the surgical profession. In the years to come, while ensuring the Department continues to grow and blossom in its areas of eminence, Professor Lo, under his ingenious leadership, targets to re-engineer the Department and leads the fellow staff to reach another summit in all its future developments edging to the international front.
2017 - 2018
Professor S.W.K. Cheng
Professor Cheng obtained his qualifications in medicine at The University of Hong Kong in 1984. He received his training in General Surgery and Vascular Surgery at the Department of Surgery, Queen Mary Hospital. In 1991 he was Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of California, San Francisco where he pursued his specialty interest in Vascular Surgery. He took up the present position as Chief of the Division of Vascular Surgery and Director of the Francis Y.H. Tien Vascular Disease Centre and the Vascular Laboratories in 1992, and is currently the Serena HC Yang Professor of Vascular Surgery at The University of Hong Kong.
His main interest is in Vascular Surgery and Endovascular treatment of occlusive and aneurysmal diseases. He was elected Distinguished Fellow and Honorary Member of the Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS), and honorary member of the ANZSVS and Society of Clinical Vascular Surgery; member of the European Society for Vascular Surgery, Executive Board Member and Asian Chapter Secretary of the International Union of Angiology, and National Representative in the International Society for Vascular Surgery (ISVS). He is immediate Past President of the Asian Society for Vascular Society, and immediate past President of the College of Surgeons of Hong Kong. He is on the Executive Board of the Chinese Society of Vascular Surgery and the Editorial Board of the Journal of Vascular Surgery and the Chinese Journal of Vascular Surgery. He held visiting Professorships in the University of British Columbia, and the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine in London.
Professor Cheng played a key role in the development of Vascular Surgery in Hong Kong, having established a renowned unit and the first non-invasive Vascular Laboratory in Queen Mary Hospital. He led the development of endovascular intervention of peripheral vascular diseases, and pioneered the development of endovascular aortic stent grafting for aortic aneurysms and dissections in SE Asia. He has been invited to lectures and hold workshops for advanced endograft techniques in many countries in Asia.
Professor Cheng’s research is directed toward aspects of aortic aneurysms and aortic dissection, including pathogenesis, hemodynamics and endovascular treatment of complex aneurysms; as well as in peripheral vascular disease, especially epidemiology, atherogenesis, and carotid stenosis. He has authored over 200 publications in peer-reviewed journals and book chapters in the specialty.
These prominent incumbents have made considerable contributions and impact to the development and progress of the department. A special mention must be made of Professors James Cantlie and K.H. Digby who "built the foundation", Professor Ong who put "Hong Kong on the world map", and Professor Wong who "brought the world to Hong Kong". The record of their lives and achievement will need many volumes of biographies.