Over the years, human beings have been actively involved in self-improvement. While the development of plastic surgery is popularly believed to have taken place over 20 years ago, it has been proved that origins of plastic surgery are quite old. Physicians in the ancient history used skin grafts for reconstructive work.
Ancient Plastic Surgery
Reconstructive surgeries were being carried out in India as early as 800 B.C. A Hindu surgeon, Sushruta, reconstructed a nose using a piece of cheek. He also published the Sushruta Samhita which is a collection of medical texts on plastic surgery and the first of its kind in ancient history. The medical works of Sushruta was translated into Arabic in 750 B.C, and made their way into Europe via intermediaries.
The progress of plastic surgery was slow over the following thousand years; the India techniques introduced in the West was gradually improved and adapted for new applications. Major development in medicine took place during the Greco Roman period. During this period, a Roman medical writer, Aulus Cornelius, wrote various texts, which layered out surgical methods for ears, lips and nose reconstruction. A detailed medical encyclopedia entitled, ‘Synagogue Medicae’ was compiled during the early Byzantine Period. This book contained various reconstructive techniques dedicated to repair facial defects.
Middle Ages & the Renaissance
During the renaissance, major scientific developments were made which resulted in development of safer surgical techniques. In the 15th Century, an Islamic text was written on maxillofacial surgery, eyelid surgery and a protocol for the treatment of gynecomastia which is considered as the foundation of modern day surgical breast reduction.
Plastic Surgery During the War
The most significant improvements in the field of plastic surgery occurred during the First World War when reconstructive surgery was a necessity for the casualties of war. Military physicians treated many facial and head injuries caused by modern weapons. Skin grafting techniques such as the ‘tubed pedicled graft’ were developed during this time to treat facial burns. It was during this time that physicians came to understand the influence an individual’s appearance could have on the level of success experienced in his or her life. This realization led surgeons to perform more complex procedures.
The 1940s &50s
In 1946, the first issue of the journal of plastic and reconstructive surgery was published and served as a forum for dissemination of knowledge among plastic surgeons and their colleagues. During the Korean War, more complex reconstructive procedures such as wiring techniques to correct facial fractures and use of rotation flaps to correct deformities were performed.
Modern Plastic Surgery
Significant scientific developments took place during the 1960s; silicone was a newly created substance and a staple of various cosmetic procedures. In 1962, Dr. Cronin created a new breast implant device made from silicone. Over the next years, these implants have been used in different parts of the body.
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