History Of Plastic Surgery

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.