As we see throughout the years, plastic surgery also known as cosmetic surgery has become more and more popular every year. Plastic surgery has increased to nine percent from 2000 to 2001. There are many various types of procedures that could make the body the way the person prefers it to be. The most popular surgeries that are performed include facial reconstruction, liposuction, breast implant, arm, thigh, and many more.
The word “plastic” in “plastic surgery” does not mean “artificial”, but it comes from the Greek word “plastikos”, which means to give shape or to form. Though the revolution of plastic surgery is very well known in today’s society, the invention of plastic surgery can not be forgotten in history as from the time of its true birth. Plastic surgery is a well known medical specialty that is concerned with reshaping the body’s tissues to help correct an individual’s disfigurations and malformations and to also improve their physical appearance.
Cosmetic surgery is a wonderful invention which has helped reshape the world by helping reconstruct body parts of the punished, helping treat individuals with serious injuries during the war, and a method to help change an individual’s appearance. Plastic surgery served as a way to help individuals in the past with facial damage. Over 2,600 years ago as stated from the Sanskrit texts of ancient India, plastic surgery related methods were first performed. The true birth of plastic surgery was when the ear lobes of young infants were first pierced in India.
This procedure is called otoplasty which is the plastic surgery of the ear. During this time reconstructive surgeries were needed greatly as acts of facial disfigurement. The nose especially was cut off in India and surrounding areas of India, by fierce intruders as a method to show a visible form of humiliation to those individuals. Also the Hindu judicial system also contributed to the need for plastic surgery by punishing criminals by amputating their genitalia, nose and other body parts. This punishment was commonly given to unfaithful spouses.
The nose was cut off because it was clearly a symbol of dignity and respect in the society of that time, therefore the punished loose their respect and dignity by losing their nose. As early as 800 B. C. physicians in ancient India were using skin grafts for reconstructive work, especially on the nose. A skin graft is when a patch of skin that is surgically removed from one area of the body and then transplanted to another area. The physicians that performed skin graphing were able to do this procedure because of their knowledge about plant grafting.
Reconstructive work on the nose was also known as rhinoplasty. Hindu doctors helped reconstruct noses that had been cut off due to punishment. At this time medical equipment and measuring utensils were limited. Therefore the nose was first measured with a leaf and then the operation was continued by adding a thin plate of wax into the stump of the nose so it made a nicely shaped nose when molded. Then skin graphing was accomplished by taking skin from the cheek or the forehead and then bringing it down to the nose and cementing it down to help create a double hold on the nose.
This procedure was always successful, and the artificial nose stayed secure and looked nearly like a natural nose, but scars remained on the cheek or the forehead from where the skin was taken during the skin grafting technique. The following quote is from a medical article which gives a description of the rhinophasty technique performed in 800 B. C. : “The cicatrix of the stump of the nose is next paired off, and immediately behind the new part, an incision is made through the skin which passes around both alae, and goes along the upper lip.
The skin, now brought down from the forehead and being twisted half around, is inserted into this incision, so that a nose is formed with a double hold above and with its alae and septum below fixed in the incision. A little Terra Japonica (pale-catechu) is softened with water and being spread on slips of cloth, five or six of these are placed over each other to secure the joining. No other dressing but this cement is used for four days. It is then removed, and cloths dipped in ghee are applied.
The connecting slip of skin is divided about the twentieth day, when a little more dissection is necessary to improve the appearance of the new nose. For five or six days after the operation, the patient is made to lie on his back, and on the tenth day, bits of soft cloth are put into the nostrils to keep them sufficiently open. This operation is always successful. The artificial nose is secured and looks nearly as well as the natural nose, nor is the scar on the forehead very observable after a length of time. ” (Prasar 2)
Without the invention of plastic surgery, the punished individuals in India would not be able to have their bodies reconstructed after they served their punishment. The beginning of plastic surgery helped create the first technique of skin grafting, which helped change the appearance of individuals with disfigurations. Therefore plastic surgery’s primary purpose was to help repair awful and quite serious injuries and as time progressed plastic surgery found its way to help war victims during World War I and World War II. During the late 1800s and the early 1900s the World War begun.
The war left behind many injured soldiers with shattered jaws, blown-off noses and lips and skull wounds caused by the weapons and deadly falls from the war. The war became the driving force behind most plastic surgery developments at this time. The World War helped move plastic surgery to a higher level, compared to skin grafting in 800 B. C. At this time physicians had never been required to treat so many and such extensive facial and head injuries. By the 19th century many methods were introduced in the plastic surgery field which was anesthesia.
Anesthesia had become a wonderful break through in the plastic surgery field by eliminating painful procedures by putting the patient to sleep during surgery. Anesthesia is the process of blocking the perception of pain and other sensations. This allows patients to undergo surgery and other procedures without the distress and pain they would otherwise experience. Anesthesia was first successfully used in 1845, and as the years progressed many advances in anesthetics had advanced in time for the war victims with serious reconstructive injuries.
Plastic Surgery finally gained a respectable place in the medical profession resulting in the development of private clinics and doctor’s offices. There were also the negative effects of plastic surgery which resulted with some devastating failures leading to death and numerous lawsuits. Also military plastic surgery centers were established and played an important role in the advancement of plastic surgery techniques and also with the training of the next generation of plastic surgeons.
By the end of the war, more than twenty facilities were established close to the fighting in Europe to manage mild-to-moderate injuries, and nine centers were created within the United States to handle more complex reconstructions requiring longer recovery. J Barrett Brown was responsible for heading the US Army plastic surgery program in Europe. The World Wars influenced the plastic surgery field, by helping the numerous injured soldiers during the war and therefore resulting in a strongly respected field in the medical world.
Throughout the years plastic surgery was practiced to help individuals with disfigurations but as the profession became more popular and technology advanced the use of plastic surgery was completed for other reasons. By the late 1940s there were more than hundred and fifty surgeons and an educational foundation called Plastic Surgery Educational Foundation was established in 1955 by Dr. Maliniac, one of the best plastic surgeons at this time. The Foundation was created to train, practice and research in plastic surgery and to help educate the public with plastic surgery issues by showing interviews on television with plastic surgeons.
During the later half of the 20th century there was a tremendous growth in the specialty of reconstructive and plastic surgery. By 1950 plastic surgery was incorporated into the medical establishment. Plastic surgery was then noticed by the public and a large amount of plastic surgeons entered the plastic surgery field. New technologies were then developed such as internal wiring for facial fractures, rotation flaps for skin deformities and many other technologies that were developed by plastic surgeons in the 1950s.
In the 1960s there were many more scientific developments and a whole range of procedures were performed by surgeons. The invention of silicone became a tool for plastic surgeons which was used to treat skin imperfections. Thomas Cronin of Houston then used silicone to help increase the size of breasts with breast implants in 1962. Silicone breast implants targeted towards young women and became high in demand. The big break through of plastic surgery became popular to the eyes of the public and many individuals considered undergoing plastic surgery for personal reason not for war injury reasons or mutilation.
Personal image became a big issue, many individual were not satisfied with their appearance and wanted certain procedures such breast implants, rhinoplasty and other surgeries. Plastic surgery was then being misused instead of being used for its primary reason, to help individuals with disfigurations and other injuries. In conclusion, the invention of plastic surgery has helped change the world. The primary reason plastic surgery was introduced into the world was to help individuals with disfigurations from punishment in 800 B.C and to help reconstruct the bodies of victims from the war suffering from deadly injuries.
The World Wars resulted with the largest number of facial injuries produced in the history of any war. Plastic surgery enabled the ability to reconstruct the human form in a manner unlike anything every seen before. As the decades went by, plastic surgery has been misused instead of being used to help individuals with injuries and facial damage. Plastic surgery is now been used to change the appearance of an individual, especially to help maintain a “youthful look”.
As new technologies and procedures developed, plastic surgery will become a billion dollar medical establishment in the future ahead and thousands of individuals will undergo a procedure. The last fifty years allowed the medical specialty to grow considerably through the years. However it took awhile for plastic surgery to achieve its recognition in the medical realm, its ability to restore the human form and its function will always be admired by the world. Bibliography 1. “Plastic Surgery in Ancient India. ” India: Vigyan Prasar, January 2005: 2 2. Kindersley, Complete Home Medical Guide.
Toronto, 2004: Page 104 3. “History of Surgery” The Hutchinson Encyclopedia of Science, Research Machines, New York, 2003, Page: 125 4. “Focusing on Body Image Dissatisfaction. ” USA Today Magazine 1 Feb. 1999: 25-26 5. Fiset, Louis. “Medical care for interned enemy aliens: A role for the US Public Health Service in World War II. ” American Journal of Public Health (2003): 1644 6. Bayat, A; McGrouther, D; Ferguson, M. “Skin Scarring. ” British Medical Journal (2003): 88 7. Bennett, J. “Aspects of the history of plastic surgery since the 16th century. ” J R Soc Med (1983): 152-156.