Las Colinas Centre for Plastic Surgery

Michael R. Whetstone, M.D. Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
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How Cosmetic Surgery Has Changed

June 2, 2014  |   Uncategorized

Cosmetic surgery began with the first tattoo ever applied to a person’s skin. Evolution and improvements in this field began early as well. There is evidence that the use of surgery in response to facial injuries is more than 4,000 years old. As early as 800 B.C., Indian physicians used skin grafts for reconstructive purposes. Since then, people have been refining and perfecting the methods of changing a person’s appearance. The prevalence of cosmetic surgery did wax and wane over the years. From its early days in India, the practice continued steadily into the Middle Ages. When Christianity began to spread, however, it came to a standstill and focus shifted away from science and toward religion. Lack of understanding about basic hygiene would likely have compromised progress during this time anyway. Despite its barriers, one significant advancement during this era was the development of a procedure to repair cleft lips. Science and technology gained momentum again during the Renaissance, resulting in safer and more advanced surgical techniques. Informative materials about facial surgeries were distributed, as well as information regarding gynecomastia, which solidified the foundation of surgical breast reduction. The popularity of cosmetic surgery dipped again in the 17th century, and didn’t rise until approximately 100 years later. The next major advances, however, did not present themselves until the 20th century. Injuries incurred in war necessitated reconstructive surgery, and professionals in the medical field began to take particular interest during World War I. By 1950, a medical journal had been dedicated to the field, and board certification was an option. Further surgical improvements developed during the Korean War, such as wiring techniques for facial fractures and rotation flaps to resolve skin deformities. Silicone, as a tool for treating skin imperfections, came next, and a multitude of silicone body implants were unveiled over the next decades. These days, the use of surgery to improve physical appearance is not nearly as taboo as it once was. It has truly earned its place as a valuable component of the medical field. For more information about surgical options for cosmetic purposes, contact us today.