October 1, 2013
“Despite the popular misconception, the word ‘plastic’ in ‘plastic surgery’ does not mean ‘artificial,’ but is derived from the ancient Greek word ‘plastikos,’ which means to mold or give form” (Schnur and Hait). What was once used to help reconstruct the faces and bodies of wounded soldiers is now used to aesthetically create new faces and bodies around the world. The motive for surgery is changing. Statistics show that plastic surgery is becoming increasingly more popular among men, women, and teens. Not only is the number of surgeries performed growing, but new types of procedures are also appearing. Many people around the world are undergoing several different types of plastic and cosmetic surgeries.
The initial stages of plastic surgery in the past were not to increase beauty, but rather to help deformities and injuries look more normal. One of the main pioneers of plastic surgery in America was Dr. Jacques Maliniac, who traveled to the United States from Europe in 1923 after World War I. He helped establish the great American institution currently known as the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Twenty years after founding ASPS, Dr. Maliniac molded The Plastic Surgery Foundation and remained its president until 1955 (Schnur and Hait). Paul Schnur and Pamela Hait state in the article, “History of Plastic Surgery”, “The Foundation's mission was to support research pertaining to congenital and acquired deformities” (plasticsurgery.org). This is proof that aesthetic procedures were not their goal.
World War I was the combustive component that sent plastic surgery flying. The many damaged facial structures, missing body parts, and general deformities spurred some of the best surgeons all across Europe to devote themselves to restoring their fellow countrymen (Schnur and Hait). It was also during this time that doctors came to the realize, as 19th century surgeon John Orlando Roe nicely put, "how much valuable talent (had)...
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