Plastic surgery is a special branch of surgery that deals with the medical correction of a person's form and structure. The word plastic comes from the Greek word plastikos which means "to mold" or "to shape". So, plastic surgery basically means surgery that brings about a re-shaping of a part of the body. A popular procedure in ancient Rome was scar removal, particularly scars on the back which were marks of shame because they suggested a man had turned his back in battle or worse, he had been whipped like a slave. Foreigners would also have plastic surgery to fit better into Roman society. During the Middle Ages, plastic surgery was typically deemed pagan and sinful because the spilling of blood by a surgeon and the power the surgeon had over the body were skin to magic. When plastic surgery became popular during the Renaissance, surgeons took skin grafts from various donors, such as a neighbor’s pig, but were confused when the new nose would shrivel up and fall off. They concluded the flesh was “sympathetic,” meaning that the graft died when its original owner died. Many plastic surgeries in the early Renaissance were performed in barber shops. Breast implants grew in popularity in the 1960s. Show girls would inject their breasts with liquid silicone, a substance initially used in Japan in WWI to plump out legs withered by polio. Unfortunately, they could suffer dangerous, side effects, such as amputation of the breast due to infection and guaranteed “pendulous” breasts by the time they reached 40. In Nazi Germany, some forms of reconstructive surgery were mandated to enable the “too ugly” solder to become a “real” soldier. Benito Mussolini’s (1880-1945) Italy also used plastic surgery to increase the performance of military officers, such as correcting drooping eyelids. The first modern breast augmentation took place on November 24, 1893, in Heidelberg, Germany, by Vincent Czerny. His patient was a 41-year-old singer who had a growth...
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