A Brief History of Plastic Surgery from 2000 BC to the Present

Published: 04th November 2008
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Though surgical altering of the human body was first used in India around 800 BC, there is evidence that the actual beginnings of cosmetic surgery began some 4,000 years ago. These radical surgical procedures progressed very slowly in Europe, perhaps due to the unwillingness to explore what seemed to be bizarre practices. Whereas the medical majority of Asia was much more accepting of these promising procedures, even to the extent of attempting and achieving successful skin grafts and reconstructive operations.

In North America, cosmetic surgery didn't begin until the late 19th century. In 1827, Dr. John Mettauer successfully performed the first operation in the history of plastic surgery. It was a cleft palate procedure in which Dr. Mettauer had to design his own instruments.
His designs for these surgical tools are the forerunners for many of today's modern surgical devices.

Plastic surgery may have taken a much slower pace in medicine were it not for World War I. Disabling mustard gas, mines and makeshift flame throwers provided physicians with more casualties than they could treat with conventional methods. Also, severe facial wounds and burns created the impetus to develop plastic surgery at a faster pace and to perfect new techniques to treat the men crippled by this war. And thus, though this restorative surgery made its mark on the battlefield--it came home with the troops to become one of the most sought-after aesthetic procedures for civilians to this day.

Plastic surgery became firmly implanted in America in 1931, with the advent of the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons (ASPRS). Prior to this, no such organization for American plastic surgeons had existed. This turned out to be a most important advancement, creating the first qualifying exams leading to Board Certified Plastic Surgeons. In the 1960s and 70s and the years that followed, many other organizations were formed that provided qualifying requirements for its participating physicians thus insuring the good name and reputation of plastic surgery. As the history of plastic surgery continues to unfold, incredible techniques have been developed in treatments and its acceptance by the general public.

It is important to research the education and experience of the cosmetic surgeon you choose to perform your facelift, breast augmentation, or other plastic surgery procedure.

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