Patients who come to our Oklahoma City plastic surgery center know that we are committed to providing patients with ample information about the procedures they will undergo. We're also more than happy to answer other kinds of questions related to facial plastic surgery, body contouring, and skin care innovations. Sometimes we even get asked about the origins of certain procedures, and we're happy to answer those questions.
On that note, we wanted to consider the history of plastic surgery, looking all the way back at the origins of the field. It's a fascinating glimpse into medical innovations over the course of a few millennia. Let's take a brief hop through time right now.
Plastic Surgery in the Ancient World
Ancient Egyptian medical texts date all the way back to around 3000 BC, meaning that people of antiquity were already making medical innovations.
In ancient India around 600 BC, the physician Sushruta made a number of surgical innovations (e.g., c-sections, rhinoplasty reconstruction of the nose) that led him to be considered "the first plastic surgeon" and "the father of surgery".
The Romans were also performing plastic surgery in the ancient world roughly 100 BC, though generally they performed simple reconstructive procedures, such as repair for damaged ears.
Reconstructive Surgery from the 1400s and 1700s
During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the major innovations in cosmetic surgery involved innovations in skin graft techniques. A number of surgeons work with skin grafts to reconsturct the nose, for instance. Unfortunately, serious pain during surgery, the risk of infection, and to some extent the influence of the Church in Europe meant limited innovations during this time period.
Innovations in the 1800s
During the 1800s, some moves forward in surgery were made. Most notably was the use of ether for anesthetic during surgical procedures. The first successful demonstration of its anesthetic properties was in 1846.
The first American plastic surgeon, Dr. John Peter Mettauer, performed the first cleft palate surgery in 1827. He would go on to pen a book on rhinoplasty techniques in 1845. A number of other surgeons would make innovations in rhinoplasty at the end of the 1800s.
Plastic Surgery and World War I
Plastic surgery really took off in the 20th century, and one of the main reasons for these innovations was the First World War. The war to end all wars left countless veterans disfigured from their time in the trenches, which led to surgeons creating new grafting and reconstructive techniques to address burns, gunshot wounds, and far more serious facial injuries.
Further innovations in plastic and reconstructive surgery would be made in World War II, which lead to major technological advancement in a number of fields.
The Evolution of Breast Implants
Breast augmentation surgery dates back to the 19th century, though it wasn't until the 1960s that the procedure would be safe and effective. Prior to that, implants were made of glass, rubber, polyester, ox cartilage, and other less-than-effective substances.
In 1961, the first breast implants were developed by the Dow Corning Corporation and plastic surgeons Thomas Cronin and Frank Gerow. In 1964, a French company called Laboratoires Arion developed the first saline breast implants.
The 1980s: Plastic Surgery Goes Mainstream
As plastic surgery continued to evolve and improve in the 1960s and 1970s, it would finally be mainstream by the 1980s. Now that techniques had been further revised, improved, and made safe, more and more consumers became interested in facial lift procedures, breast implants, and other surgical innovations.
Innovation is Still Ongoing
Admittedly, the above is a very brief history. We could go on much longer, especially about innovations and discoveries in body sculpting and facial surgery procedures. Rest assured that while we've only covered up to the 20th century, there have been vast improvements and advances since then. Digital technology, imaging, and scanning has made things better for patients and surgeons alike, and the development of non-surgical fillers and laser treatments means more options for helping you look your best.
Learn More About Plastic Surgery
To learn more about plastic surgery and how it can help you look younger and more refreshed, be sure to contact our cosmetic and reconstructive surgery center today. The team at our practice will help you find the right treatment option for your needs.