Plastic and cosmetic surgery procedures have come a long way from what they once were. Dating back more than 4,000 years, plastic surgery wasn’t sought out by patients hoping to improve their appearance; rather it was a necessity of the healing arts. While there is some discrepancy as to exactly where and when the first procedures were performed, there has been a fairly steady growth in both advancement of materials, procedures, and frequency of surgeries.
Most procedures and treatments today are focused on being non-invasive, as well as offering the least amount of downtime; our busy lives demand nothing less! This wasn’t always the case with plastic surgery when it first began and was being developed. The lack of technology, tools, resources and knowledge all contributed to some surgeries, which, if you had the option now, you may rather take a pass on.
Let’s explore the amazing history of plastic surgery, and you can thank your lucky stars for how far we’ve come!
Ancient Egypt and India
There is documentation of plastic surgery procedures for facial injuries as far back as more than 4,000 years ago. Early accounts of rudimentary skin grafting for reconstructive work date anywhere from 800 – 400 B.C. The Sushruta Samhita, a historic text and record of various plastic surgeries, was published between 600 – 400 B.C., by an Indian physician. In this text, various descriptions of examinations, treatments, and procedures were documented, including details of skin grafting using skin from the cheek and forehead.
By studying Ancient texts, archaeologists have discovered that, in ancient India, there were two main forms of plastic surgery being performed quite frequently. The first was reconstructions, which were often used to repair features damaged in battle. The second procedures were amputations, which were conducted as punishment for various crimes.
The Middle Ages and Renaissance
While the Middle Ages showed the continuation of facial reconstruction surgery, the fall of Rome in the fifth century effectively prevented further significant development in surgical techniques for several hundred years. During this time, science mostly gave way to religion and mysticism.
In the late 1500s, a new breakthrough in plastic surgery finally occurred. Gasparo Tagliacozzi, often touted as the father of modern plastic surgery, and the author of the first plastic surgery textbook, began to experiment with skin grafts of upper arm skin for nose reconstructive surgery. Motivated by the frequent duels and street brawls occurring, Tagliazcozzi’s surgeries were still extremely painful due to the lack of technology for general anaesthesia, which was still being developed at the time.
Modern Day Plastic Surgery
For centuries, plastic surgery continued to show slow progress, and procedures were performed sparingly, and always with mixed results. The outbreak of World War 1, however, would change the course of plastic history forever. Trench warfare caused thousands of soldiers to receive trauma wounds, resulting in the quick rise of plastic surgery as an independent medical practice. In order to regulate the procedures and the profession, the American Board of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery was created in 1931.
Within the past 100 years, the field of plastic surgery has experienced tremendous progress, both in the types of procedures and treatments offered, as well as the technology used to perform them. Once the field was institutionalized and regulated, it experienced extensive growth in the number of patients receiving voluntary cosmetic procedures, as well as in the type of technology available to perform them.
Clearview Plastic Surgery
Here at Clearview Plastic Surgery, we are proud to always offer the most innovative and up-to-date treatments and procedures available to our patients. With each advancing development in technology, we are happy to be in the know, and give our patients nothing but the best.
If you would like to learn more about the procedures and technology available at Clearview Plastic Surgery, schedule a free personalized consultation with us, and we would be happy to walk you through everything we have to offer!