When I first decided to become a plastic surgeon, I became really interested in the history of plastic surgery. Whose idea was it to change our appearance with medical techniques? Where did the term “plastic surgery” first originate?
The Greek word plastikos means the art of sculpting or modeling, so plastic surgery is the art of sculpting or modeling the body. The earliest roots of plastic surgery as a profession go all the way back to India in 800 BCE, where there are records of using skin from the forehead to reconstruct amputated noses. By the first century, Romans were performing simple cosmetic repairs using surgical techniques.
With the dangers associated with any form of surgery before sterile operating environments, antibiotics and anesthetics, serious advancements in the field were not seen until the 19th and 20th centuries. Prior to that time, the idea of elective surgery for purely aesthetic reasons was unheard of.
In 1827, John Peter Mettauer performed the first ever cleft palate operation, using medical instruments of his own design. In 1891, a young woman had a dorsal hump reduced for cosmetic reasons by an American doctor, and 1892 saw the use of duck sternums for reconstructing nose cartilage. World War I brought new techniques for facial surgery due to necessary treatment of disfigured soldiers. Burn treatments for RAF aircrew were pioneered during World War II, and 1946 saw the first sexual reassignment surgery.
These days, the popularity of cosmetic procedures continues to grow, as techniques and technology are still improving even now. I like to think that my C.L.A.S.S. tummy tuck technique is one example of a modern, refined approach to cosmetic surgery that yields better and better results.*
*This information is for education only, and is not meant as a guarantee of results. Your results may vary.