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Submitted by: Abigail Aaronson
Plastic surgery today has been made more popular than ever by the focus on having a perfect body. So how did this branch of medicine come to be? Where are the origins of plastic surgery and how did it get its foothold in society today?
How It Began
Believe it or not, plastic surgery had its start over 4000 years ago when it was practiced in ancient India as early as 800 B.C. Physicians used skin grafts for reconstructive work as a medical treatment. Thereafter, no other civilizations seemed to pick up on this phenomenon for several thousands of years. Medical treatment similar to cosmetic surgery was used for facial injuries and there is written evidence proves it.
It was in the end of 1800s that plastic surgery began to take root in the American continent. It all started with a successful treatment of a cleft palette in 1827 by Dr. John Peter Mettauer. He even designed his own surgical instruments!
More cosmetic surgical procedures were developed during and after the World War I as soldiers received all sorts of disfiguring wounds and burns on their faces, including things like noses and lips blown off by bombs, and jaws shattered by explosions or bullets. Some compassionate surgeons started exploring ways to putting the faces of these men back together using surgical procedures.
By 1931, the field had grown enough to warrant the formation of the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons (ASPRS.) This group created examinations to test the skill and ability of plastic surgeons entering the industry and helped standardize many of the procedures.
Things really started to pick up in the 1960s and 1970s. Silicone was discovered in the 1960s; being first used to smooth out inconsistencies in the skin, and used in breast implant cosmetic surgery by 1962. Plastic surgery also got a lot of public attention in 1969 when President Richard Nixon appointed a plastic surgeon, Dr. Hal B. Jennings as the U.S. Surgeon General.
In the next decade, a cosmetic surgeon by the name of Joseph Murray won the Nobel prize for performing the very first successful kidney transplant, giving the profession and the field lots of deserved credibility.
Today’s Cosmetic Surgery Trends
In the following years, plastic surgery actually started becoming available to the public. As the American Society of Plastic Surgeons records, there were roughly 32,000 breast implant surgeries performed in 1992, but by 2007 that number had sky-rocketed up over 920 percent to 333,000 procedures. The popularity of tummy tucks, or abdominoplasty, also increased exponentially in the same time period, rising from 750 to 142,000 procedures in 2007.
Other procedures that dramatically increased in volume in the last 15 years include eyelid surgery, upper arm lifts, chemical peels and other injectable treatments. In fact, the injectable world was almost non-existent in 1992. The past several years have resulted in the development of wonder fillers like collagen injections, Botox, and Restylane. Other non-invasive procedures that have really taken off are laser hair removal, laser skin resurfacing and microdermabrasions.
The history of plastic surgery is rich and long, and fortunately today, cosmetic surgery is within the reach of normal consumers, allowing them to dramatically improve their appearance, reduce the effects of aging and increase their self confidence in daily life.
About the Author: Cosmetic surgery, Washington DC has come a long way since it took its root in the American continent. Thousands have benefitted by surgeries like breast implants, tummy tuck and botox treatments. At the Center for Plastic Surgery in Washington DC,
, consultation is available.