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A Brief History of Cosmetic Surgery

Have you ever wondered how surgeries worked before modern surgical tools? Some believe surgery simply didn’t happen. But that is not true.

Research shows that cosmetic surgery has been around for thousands of years. Crude surgeries were performed in India and Egypt back as far as 2000 B.C.E. When Egyptian doctors performed rhinoplasties, they used reeds to keep the nose airways open during healing. An ancient collection of medical texts was found in 600 B.C.E. documenting this and many other plastic surgery procedures.

Fast forward another half a century and the Romans began their experiments with reconstructive surgeries. It is no secret that Romans were obsessed with the beauty of the human body. There are countless priceless sculptures from that period to prove it. In an effort to return gladiators to their previous splendor, ancient Roman doctors operated on severely damaged faces and bodies. These operations included procedures on the ears, nose and breast. Proof of this was found in a text called “De Medicina.”

When Christianity spread after the fall of the Roman empire, no new developments were made in plastic surgery. Pope Innocent III made surgical changes to the body unlawful. This continued for hundreds of years until after the Renaissance.

It wasn't until the late 1500s that plastic surgery attempts resurfaced. A doctor in Italy began experimenting with skin grafts. He had slow, mixed results. Add to the Christian regime the fact that anesthesia had yet to be invented successfully, and you can imagine progress was very slow.

Plastic Surgery Leaps Forward

Surprisingly, WWI would be what got plastic surgery recognized as a necessary science. Men were coming home from the war completely disfigured in huge numbers. Thousands of men suffered severe injuries to their faces, necks, arms, and throats.

This flood of battle broken men is what allowed plastic surgery to be recognized as an independent practice. The American Board of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ASPRS) was created in 1931 to manage the new profession.

The establishment of the ASPRS threw plastic surgery into an uphill developmental climb. 1946 brought the publication of the first plastic surgery medical journal. With the increased communication from this journal came increased developments and growth. Even the ASPRS expanded to become the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

The reason plastic surgery is so commonly accepted in society today is not solely because of all these changes. The media had a huge impact on how the public processed the idea. Shows like "Nip/Tuck" gave people an inside look at the process and benefits of plastic surgery.

Today, plastic surgery is a multi-billion dollar industry. No one sees that changing. As procedures become more advanced and less invasive with shorter recovery times, it makes sense that plastic surgery will soon be a household concept.

Don’t be left behind. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Franks. His experience and knowledge will ensure you are getting quality work done. For more information about plastic surgery in Des Moines, contact 515.421.4299.

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