Cosmetic Surgery: The Most Curious Operations In History

Posted on February 8, 2021March 30, 2021Categories Curious Operations

Against appearances, cosmetic surgery is not a 20th century phenomenon . Descriptions of nasal corrections and scar treatments dating back to Ancient Egypt are preserved, and as early as the 7th century, the Alexandrian physician Pablo de Aegina developed a system to remove men’s breasts, an aesthetic issue defined by treatises of the time such as medical problem. Nor is liposuction new, for Pliny the Elder, in the first century after Christ, describes a “heroic cure for obesity” to the son of a consul.

With a few exceptions, all plastic surgery patients up to the 19th century were men. In fact, the true engine of cosmetic surgery came in the Renaissance with the appearance of epidemic syphilis, a venereal disease imported from the American continent. The mission of the new decorative chirugia was to rebuild the syphilitic nose, which was eaten away or disappeared due to the effects of the disease.


Year 1597: In his rhinoplasty operation he used the graft of a tissue flap that we have between the biceps. The operation required that the flap, not yet separated from the arm, remained attached to the stump of the nose of the emaciated patient for a period of 20 days using a strong sling (right). After a month of work, excruciating pain and more than likely infections, a rudimentary nose appeared (left).


The operation never stopped being performed, but the Catholic Church did not quite like the idea of ​​doctors surgically rectifying the scars and deformities caused by a disease such as syphilis . The Vatican condemned ‘decorative surgery’ and Tagliacozzi’s lessons were ‘forgotten’ because they were human interference in the realm of divine punishment.


The enlightened philosophy of the nineteenth century, with the new notion of the individual who could remake himself to find happiness, laid the foundation for the modern culture of cosmetic surgery. The impetus came with the introduction in 1846 of anesthesia and, later, of antisepsis in 1867. The reduction of pain and infections, together with the enlightened mindset, increased the possibilities of operating on patients of their own free will, and not because of real need.

Jakob Joseph was a young Jewish surgeon who at the end of the 19th century changed his name to Jacques Joseph to disguise his origin. Joseph began operating in Berlin ‘Jewish ears’ (bat type) to relieve complexes and developed a method that modified the typical Semitic nose. By Germanizing the face, his fellow men could go unnoticed in the early days of the anti-Semitic political movement.

The first ‘belly remover’ operation took place in Baltimore in 1899, and seven kilos of fat were removed from the abdomen of a 32-year-old Jewish woman weighing 120; the first facelift came in 1901; the first surgical intervention of the eyelids was in 1906; Subcutaneous fat injections began in the 1920s as a way to smooth the skin of an aging face without the need for stretching.

After World War I, according to the best rhinoplasty specialist in Miami that surgery went from disguising ethnic traits and aging to sexual transformation. Dr. Richard Mühsam, from the Berlin municipal hospital, explained that in 1920 a patient came to him to have him castrated, expressing his desire to become a woman. The boy had an ovary implanted to generate female hormones, and as a result he developed breasts and his voice became effeminate. Mühsam did not dare to amputate his penis and created a simulated vagina in which he placed his member so that it could be sexually stimulated.

The Origin And Pioneers Of Plastic Surgery

Posted on February 7, 2021February 8, 2021Categories Origin And Pioneers

Where does the term Plastic Surgery come from? In this post we tell how the concept arose and what are the historical background and evolution of the specialty, from its origins in Ancient History to the consolidation of modern Plastic Surgery in the 19th century and the subsequent birth of its aesthetic aspect.

Etymologically, the name Plastic Surgery derives from two Greek words: Girurguiki (surgery, hand, work) and Plastikos (molding, shaping), which reflects its initial almost artisanal character.

Later, Karl Ferdinand Von Gräfe incorporated it in his monograph “Rhinoplastik” (Berlin, 1818), although it was a German surgeon, Eduard Zeis, who popularized it by publishing his treatise “Handbuch der PlastichenChirurgie” in 1838, thus baptizing this surgical specialty.

Despite the fact that the term became popular in the 19th century, the foundations of Plastic Surgery are already found in Ancient History. Thus, we can find plastic techniques in documents as ancient as the Egyptian papyri (3000 BC) or Sanskrit texts from India (2600 BC).

A sample of the above are the texts of the Indian doctor and surgeon Sushruta from 600 BC, in which interventions for nasal reconstruction are described, taking into account that the amputation of the nose was a frequent procedure to punish infidelity.

Despite this involution, in the fourteenth century the sciences and, with them, surgery were reborn, again with important contributions from both the East and the West. Thus, the Ottoman physician ŞerafeddinSabuncuoğlu described original techniques for the treatment of gynecomastia that are considered the first indications for removal of breast glandular tissue for aesthetic reasons and are the basis of current breast reduction techniques.

For his part, the Bolognese G aspareTagliacozzi (1545) is considered a key doctor in the development of Plastic Surgery for his detailed work on pedicle flaps, especially for nasal reconstruction.

Resurgence and birth of modern Plastic Surgery

In the 19th century, the definitive resurgence of the specialty took place thanks, in part, to the work of the Frenchman François Chopart on labial reconstruction with cervical flaps. During this time there is also spectacular progress associated with advances in anesthesia.

Along these lines, Karl Ferdinand Von Gräfe uses nasal reconstruction techniques during the Napoleonic Wars, describes palmar fibromatosis and classifies burns according to their depth. Meanwhile, Bernhard Von Langenbeck develops the treatment of cleft palate and Sir Astley Cooper performs the first skin graft.

The improvement of reconstructive techniques, together with the reduction in risks offered by anesthesia and the sterile technique developed by Joseph Lister, made it easier to start applying surgical-plastic procedures to improve the appearance of facial structures, even if they had not been injured or mutilated. In this way Aesthetic Surgery arises, considering the American John Orlando Roe the first surgeon to perform a nasal aesthetic approach.

Later, the German Jacques Joseph published an exhaustive analysis of the nose, which included a classification of the repair techniques of its various aesthetic alterations, work for which he is considered the father of Nasal Aesthetic Surgery.

Finally, a curiosity. The dysmorphophobia (disfigured perception of the own image) to which many specialists allude today, is already documented in writings of the nineteenth century. In the specific case of the nose, the authors of the time called it “rhinomania.”…

History Of Plastic Surgery

Posted on February 6, 2021February 8, 2021Categories History

When we talk about Plastic, Aesthetic or Reconstructive Surgery, we refer to the specialty of surgery whose objective is to restore the anatomical integrity to the body, or correct any alteration or physical defect .

During the last century cosmetic surgery interventions have increased almost exponentially. These factors have contributed to democratize this type of surgery, allowing thousands of patients to alleviate different physical defects that on many occasions are sources of complexities and loss of confidence . However, it should be remembered that the search for a beautiful or even normal appearance is constant in different human civilizations.

The objective of those first interventions was to correct the appearance of the wounds produced by nature or by other men. These efforts were already recorded in the Egyptian papyrus of Ebers , dated 1500 years before our era.

One of the functions of the first cosmetic surgeries was to solve the alterations produced by amputations , one of the most common punishments in ancient civilizations. We have one of the most representative examples in the first kingdoms of India, who used to amputate the nose and ears as punishment for certain crimes. The SusrutaSamhita , a collection of medical treatises dated between 800 and 400 BC, already includes some of the first surgical interventions performed, such as rhinoplasty and cheiloplasty . Rhinoplasty had special relevance in Hindu culture, since adultery was punished with the amputation of the nose.

This apparently very rudimentary intervention is, however, one of the foundations of current plastic surgery. In fact, the sutures that Susruta describes are similar to those used today.

In Roman civilization , the work of the surgeon who was able to hide the “F and“ K ”scars was highly valued . These marks were etched with a hot iron on slaves, fugitives, or slanderers. Marcial, a chronicler of the time, mentions in his writings Eros, a surgeon famous for removing this type of scars. In fact, during the Roman Empire cosmetic surgery was so important that even Emperor Justinian II underwent rhinoplasty after losing his nose in battle .

These surgical techniques were passed from generation to generation among some Sicilian families during the Renaissance . This is the case of the Branca brothers, who popularized the Indian technique of rhinoplasty in Europe. In Calabria there was also a great aesthetic tradition, as in the family of the Vianeo de Maida, or the Boiano de Tropea. The Duke of Urbino, for example, lost his right eye during a tournament around 1450. In order to increase the visual field of his left eye, he underwent an intervention that removed the upper part of his nasal septum. The result of this surgery can be seen in some of his portraits.