History of plastic surgery | KIES-U Plastic surgery Korea

9:06 PM

Hello everyone. Today, I would like to share about the history of plastic surgery.

Someone may ask on why we need to know this history, but there is an answer to this. If you look at the history, you will know that the things happened in the past are currently happening again.



The difference between a human and other mammal is that we think about the past, have the power to observe the present and forecast the future.

This is why I like taking a look at the history.

But, plastic surgery history seems to be something really big, so I will try to shorten it as much as possible.

Why do you think that plastic surgery means? This also came up on BY’s rap.



The definition came about 600 years ago and this definition is not much different today.
It is an art used to change or improve on innate and acquired body structure, with the purpose of correcting the disabled parts of the body so that the parts are changed to as normal as possible. (The definition was given by Gaspar Taliacocci) At the time, there was no field or specialist for plastic surgery. This was before the modernization of medical field.

Plastic means moldable. Plastic surgeries usually correct the parts that are visible. We do not interfere with body parts that are inside the body. The plastic surgery was started in order to restore severe changes on the outer body. Such efforts in additional with cosmetic purposes made it what it is today.



The most important task in plastic surgery in the nose surgery.
As methods developed for the nose surgery, overall technology and methods developed for the plastic surgery itself.



In Ancient India, we see some recordings of people making noses for those who got their noses noses cut off by removing skin from cheek and other parts of the body (we refer to taking other parts of the body as surgical flap, and this is a core skill in plastic surgery).

In Ancient Greece about 460 years BC, a person hailed as the Father of Medicine, Hippocrates was born.



Hippocrates is an ethical symbol to the doctors today. Hippocrates Oath as we know it, is actually same as the 20th Century Geneva Oath.

Hippocrates objected the idea of disease caused by supernatural effect, curse, God’s anger, etc. He is remembered because he was the first person to approach medical field with scientific methods.



In 25 BC, a great person name Selsuseu was born in Rome. He left recording on how to close the mouth in rabbit mouth surgery, loss of ears, mouth, nose, etc.

Rabbit mouth syndrome is rarely see today, but it was really common years ago.

This is important in plastic surgery because corrections are necessary on lips, forehead, nose, palate, teeth for the person to look normal. The anatomical structure concept that we have today is derived from rabbit mouth surgery.



Westerners, those in Western Europe and US, do not accept that they received academical help from the Byzantines and the Arabs. Before the Renaissance, Europe was in the dark ages regarding the medical field. In Arab, a famous surgeon, Albucasis came into the picture. It was 1000 AD, when he wrote a famous surgery book called Al-Tasrif.



He also mentions self-developed surgical tools such as tongue depressor, hook and cautery that are still used today. A syringe with piston was developed in Al-Tasrif and both other Arab doctors that spread to the western world.



The difference in the academic development between western and eastern countries can be perceived to be the university. In 1088, the first university was established in Bologna, Italy. The medical school here conducted the autopsy and this then developed rapidly.




Talicocci, Professor Bologna University, systematizes nose correction and applies surgical flap. Suddenly, something dramatic happens, the World War I.



What separates WWi from other wars is the dugout were used in WWI. So the soldiers did not suffer as many lower body damages but since their heads, faces, and necks were exposed, these parts were damaged a lot during the war.



Such patients needed doctors who would fix them so that they could rejoin the society. The doctors trained with treating loss of soft tissue, treated these injured soldiers and this was the time that plastic surgeons came into the picture.



This was also the starting point of modernized plastic surgery technology.
The academic findings were structured before this time, but it was after the WWI that plastic surgery became an independent field.

And now in 21st Century, plastic surgery is widely applied with many varieties.

We see global news on face transplant, and I think that there will be further advancement in the near future.

Cosmetic surgery was first started in US and Europe during the end of the 19th Century. Cosmetic surgery is for those people without loss or deformation of physical parts.



There was a serious social issue in Europe between WWI and WWII during the 20th Century.

There were fake cosmetic doctors who conducted surgeries in beauty parlors.
They weren’t trained properly but they marketed themselves in the newspapers and women’s magazines by saying simple surgeries can make you more attractive.

Making yourself attractive can get you a good job an make you impressive as well. These were the headlines that they used. The cost of the surgery was very high also.



The proper plastic surgeons made an association to differentiate themselves from the rest of the fake beauty doctors.

Here is a good example. There was a beauty doctor named Charles Miller in Europe. He was known a the Father of the Modern Cosmetic Surgery and he also wrote an integrated book on cosmetic surgery. But, what he did… he used a lot of paraffin… to make the noses pretty.

What happened at the end? The paraffin made the nose decompose and melt. It spread throughout the body and caused pulmonary emboliform, phlebitis, and other illness. The usage of paraffin was banned because of this happening. So Miller put resins in rubber and used it to make paraffin into a powder which he injected to the patients.



There was a person named Henry Schireson in US. He conducted a surgery on UK actress which received great reputation for himself. But he was sued for medical malpractice and lost his medical license as well. Time magazine called him a fake.

During all this happening, the real, trained surgical doctors tried their best to receive good perception from the patients.

Great amount of doctors entered the cosmetic surgery field after the WWII and the types of cosmetic surgeries and the number of cosmetic surgeries conducted increase by a wide margin. Of course, this naturally led to great development in the area. The final results were outstanding and also there were a lot of improvements in technology.

Then there could be one question that may pop up. What is the difference between the beauty doctors and others who are trained and specialize in plastic surgery in our country?

It cannot be differentiated with the plastic surgeon license from the Ministry of Health and Welfare. There are doctors with this license who conduct worse, false procedures that the beauty doctors. I think the difference is on the behavior, whether the person has a scientific approach or whether he/she has a businessmen like approach.



A person with scientific background will always look for scientific, academic resources first. It is like a habit. He/she does not believe in the marketing / advertising tabloids.

“The is a new filler, why don’t you try it out? There are other clinics that use this and make a lot of money. If you buy this transplant equipment, you can double your earnings. But it, you will succeed.” I can hear many of such marketing words from the salesperson who visit my office.

My reply is always the same. “Let’s look at the related essays first.” “I would like to see the materials not the manufacturer made but one that the 3rd party such as a university or other medical institutions made. I cannot use this without such resources.”
Such fillers or equipments will not be remembered after 2~3 years. Then what do you think these salesmen do. They come back with other new products and say the same things over and over again.

Of course, the patients do not know about this process.

If you look at the history of plastic surgery, whether it is breast augmentation or nose surgery, the same pattern applies in its development. Millions of new surgical methods are introduced but disappear instantly.

This pattern will carry out into the future.

This is why it worries me that there are so many of these marketing tabloids on the internet that form some type of perception on plastic surgery. Mobile and SNS are somewhat controlling the minds of today’s people but in about one year’s time, these information disappear from the internet.

Information itself is becoming a consumable these days. Information are changing into what customers want and prefer. Such information are not being managed or controlled properly without any statistics and are being spread out.

Scientific truth is not a consumable item.

Today’s post was on the history of plastic surgery. The topic could have been uninteresting but thank you for reading it.
Have a good day.

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