Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, National University of Singapore, Singapore - Pesi B Chacha Biography

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery

Pesi B Chacha Biography


Prof. Pesi B Chacha

Prof Pesi B Chacha was born on 31 July 1938 in Navsari, one of the largest diamond polishing towns in the state of Gujarat in India. After his early childhood in the northern town of Lukhnow, his parents moved to Mumbai where he did his schooling at the Esplanade High School and St. Xavier Junior College. Although very keen to pursue an engineering course, he decided to do medicine encouraged by his mother. He studied at the Grant Medical College in Mumbai from 1955 to 1960, graduating with distinction and gold medal in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. He did not accept the residency in obstetrics and gynaecology having been inspired by his orthopaedic teachers Professors Masalawalla and Joshipura to do orthopaedics. He left for postgraduate studies in U.K. in February 1962. He obtained his Fellowships of the Royal College of Surgeons of Glasgow and Edinburgh in 1963 and 1965. He did his orthopaedic residency training at the Western Infirmary Glasgow under Professor Roland Barnes and did his M.Ch. Orth. at the University of Liverpool in 1966.


In November 1967 he joined the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery of the National University of Singapore as a lecturer under Professor V.K. Pillay. His main interests then were in scoliosis, hand surgery and limb lengthening in children. It was Prof. Pillay who encouraged him to take special interest in scoliosis and start scoliosis clinics in the department. He was awarded M.D. by the National University of Singapore in December 1972 for his thesis on Experimental and Clinical work on "Autologous Composite Tissue Tendon Grafts for Division of Both Flexor Tendons in the Digital Theca of the Fingers".

He was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1972, to Associate Professor in 1973 and to full Professorship in 1978. When Professor Pillay left for private practice in 1972 he became the head of the department. In 1976 he received the meritorious PALMES ACADEMIQUES, GRADE OF KNIGHT, FRENCH NATIONAL AWARD by the French Government for his academic achievements. His interest in hand and reconstructive microsurgery took him to visit the world renowned microvascular surgeon Professor Yoshi Ikuta in Hiroshima Japan in 1975. On his return with the aid of a generous donation by the Lion’s Club of Singapore, an operating microscope and microsurgical instruments were bought to start pioneering work in microvascular surgery in South East Asia. With his colleague Professor Robert Pho teaching workshops for microsurgery were conducted to train young surgeons in the region. In recognition for this work and for conducting microsurgery workshops he was awarded F.R.A.C.S. by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in February 1980 and the International Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery presented him an award for Advancement of Reconstructive Microsurgery Surgery in Singapore in 1996.


In April 1979 he was awarded the prestigious Arris and Gale Memorial Lectureship of the Royal College of Surgeons of England for his work on "CLINICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL STUDY OF MUSCLE PEDICLE TRANSFER OF IPSILATERAL FIBULA INTO THE TIBIA FOR NON-UNION OF THE TIBIA WITH A LARGE GAP". At the same time he was also awarded the Visiting Professorship to U.K. by the Commonwealth Universities Interchange Scheme from 23 April to 19 May 1979.


In recognition of his interest in scoliosis he was elected as a member of the Scoliosis Research Society in 1979.


On 4 March 2013 he received the PIONEER HAND SURGEON award from the International Federation of the Societies for Hand Surgery (IFSSH).


During his tenure as the head, the University Department of Orthopaedic Surgery gained the reputation as a comprehensive postgraduate teaching department, attracting trainees from abroad and the neighbouring countries. He encouraged both experimental and clinical research and published prolifically in many aspects of orthopaedic surgery.


He resigned from the academic position in 1980 but continued to actively take part in teaching and training as Visiting Consultant to National University Hospital, Singapore General Hospital and Changi General Hospital. His wife Piloo who is also a Primary Health Physician has been his main pillar of support and encouragement throughout his academic and professional life.


He was a very keen cricketer and played for the Singapore Cricket League for many years. Though late in his life he pursued his keen interest in flying and holds a Private Pilot License.