Plastic surgery seems like the most modern of procedures, but it’s actually nearly as old as medicine itself. While plastic surgery techniques boomed during the 20th century, the first plastic surgery performed in the West occurred back in 1814. That’s when London surgeon Dr. Joseph Carpue reconstructed the nose of a man who had lost his most prominent facial protuberance.
Plastic surgery dates back to ancient Egypt. Even back then, people weren’t keen on their noses’ appearance, so early procedures focused on improving the look of the sniffer. For practical purposes, these surgeries were likely used on people suffering from nasal problems, not vanity. Back then, there was little in the way of anesthesics. At about the same time, similar techniques were under development in India. It was in India in the late 18th century that British doctors first learned of rhinoplasty. This knowledge helped lead to Carpue’s reconstructive surgery decades later.
After Carpue’s initial operation, the pace of plastic surgery proceeded slowly, but steadily. In the United States, the first plastic surgery to repair a cleft palate was performed in 1827. Because of the dangers of infection and lack of anesthetic, many surgeries didn’t succeed or even killed the patient. In the next century, plastic surgery made great strides, but it was due to the terrible devastation of war.
It’s easy for people today to forget that World War I, known then as “The Great War,” was also called “The War to End All Wars.” So many millions of people were killed and maimed that survivors thought humanity would never be foolish enough to embark on another such calamity. Unfortunately, they were wrong, but the horrors of the Great War began a golden age of plastic surgery. New Zealand surgeon Sir Harold Gillies, working in London, devised methods to repair some of the damage to soldiers disfigured in battle. Gillies is considered the father of modern plastic surgery. Even better methods were on hand little over 20 years later, when World War II commenced.
The first surgery to enhance breast size occurred in 1962, when Texas housewife Timmie Jean Lindsey received silicone breast implants. She was actually a guinea pig for the operation, as doctors wanted to try the new procedure and she was persuaded by a plastic surgeon to undergo the breast surgery in exchange for pinning her large ears back. It wasn’t long before the floodgates opened and millions of women decided they wanted larger breasts than Nature had bestowed.
With new techniques and products constantly becoming available, plastic surgery in the 21st century looks like it will continue to boom and do so until every last person on the planet is happy with their appearance.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about plastic surgery, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!