Plastic Surgery

Topics: Plastic surgery, Surgery, Breast implant Pages: 6 (1914 words) Published: October 29, 2005
How Plastic Surgery Helped Reshape the World

As we see throughout the years, plastic surgery also known as cosmetic surgery has become more and more popular every year. Plastic surgery has increased to nine percent from 2000 to 2001. There are many various types of procedures that could make the body the way the person prefers it to be. The most popular surgeries that are performed include facial reconstruction, liposuction, breast implant, arm, thigh, and many more. The word "plastic" in "plastic surgery" does not mean "artificial", but it comes from the Greek word "plastikos", which means to give shape or to form. Though the revolution of plastic surgery is very well known in today's society, the invention of plastic surgery can not be forgotten in history as from the time of its true birth. Plastic surgery is a well known medical specialty that is concerned with reshaping the body's tissues to help correct an individual's disfigurations and malformations and to also improve their physical appearance. Cosmetic surgery is a wonderful invention which has helped reshape the world by helping reconstruct body parts of the punished, helping treat individuals with serious injuries during the war, and a method to help change an individual's appearance.

Plastic surgery served as a way to help individuals in the past with facial damage. Over 2,600 years ago as stated from the Sanskrit texts of ancient India, plastic surgery related methods were first performed. The true birth of plastic surgery was when the ear lobes of young infants were first pierced in India. This procedure is called otoplasty which is the plastic surgery of the ear. During this time reconstructive surgeries were needed greatly as acts of facial disfigurement. The nose especially was cut off in India and surrounding areas of India, by fierce intruders as a method to show a visible form of humiliation to those individuals. Also the Hindu judicial system also contributed to the need for plastic surgery by punishing criminals by amputating their genitalia, nose and other body parts. This punishment was commonly given to unfaithful spouses. The nose was cut off because it was clearly a symbol of dignity and respect in the society of that time, therefore the punished loose their respect and dignity by losing their nose.

As early as 800 B.C. physicians in ancient India were using skin grafts for reconstructive work, especially on the nose. A skin graft is when a patch of skin that is surgically removed from one area of the body and then transplanted to another area. The physicians that performed skin graphing were able to do this procedure because of their knowledge about plant grafting. Reconstructive work on the nose was also known as rhinoplasty. Hindu doctors helped reconstruct noses that had been cut off due to punishment. At this time medical equipment and measuring utensils were limited. Therefore the nose was first measured with a leaf and then the operation was continued by adding a thin plate of wax into the stump of the nose so it made a nicely shaped nose when molded. Then skin graphing was accomplished by taking skin from the cheek or the forehead and then bringing it down to the nose and cementing it down to help create a double hold on the nose. This procedure was always successful, and the artificial nose stayed secure and looked nearly like a natural nose, but scars remained on the cheek or the forehead from where the skin was taken during the skin grafting technique. The following quote is from a medical article which gives a description of the rhinophasty technique performed in 800 B.C.:

"The cicatrix of the stump of the nose is next paired off, and immediately behind the new part, an incision is made through the skin which passes around both alae, and goes along the upper lip. The skin, now brought down from the forehead and being twisted half around, is inserted into this incision, so that a nose is formed with a double hold...

Bibliography: 1. "Plastic Surgery in Ancient India." India: Vigyan Prasar, January 2005: 2
2. Kindersley, Complete Home Medical Guide. Toronto, 2004: Page 104
3. "History of Surgery" The Hutchinson Encyclopedia of Science, Research Machines, New York, 2003, Page: 125
4. "Focusing on Body Image Dissatisfaction." USA Today Magazine 1 Feb. 1999: 25-26
5. Fiset, Louis. "Medical care for interned enemy aliens: A role for the US Public Health Service in World War II." American Journal of Public Health (2003): 1644
6. Bayat, A; McGrouther, D; Ferguson, M. "Skin Scarring." British Medical Journal (2003): 88
7. Bennett, J. "Aspects of the history of plastic surgery since the 16th century." J R Soc Med (1983): 152-156
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