The History of Plastic Surgery – For your information, the “plastic” part of the phrase “plastic surgery” doesn’t refer to that material you often find in household equipments and all. The word derives from the Greek phrase plastike tekhne that translate to “the art of sculpting flesh”, denoting the adjective attribute of that particular word. The History of Plastic Surgery dates back to the 6th century BC India. Sushruta, known as the father of surgery, contributed to the first method of both plastic and cataract surgery. The works of Sushruta as well as Charak were recorded in Sanskrit, which then made their way into Arabic translation during the Abassid Caliphate around 750 AD. This version of translation would then come to Europe where the Gaspare Tagliacozzi and the Branca family of Sicily in Italy got their hand to the procedure.
While British physicians in fact visited India to observe rhinoplasties that was carried out by the natives in 1794, the very first successful reconstructive plastic surgery were done by Joseph Carpue in 1815, who had spent most of his time in India to carefully investigate the method. Curiously, record also shows the possibilities of the Romans already gotten familiar with plastic surgery around 1st century BC. Works of Aulus Celsus show detailed studies on skeleton and genitalia, indicating an earlier form of approach to plastic surgery. In 15th century, Heinrich von Pfolspeundt suggested a procedure of rhinoplasty in which a nose can be set for someone who has lost it entirely and there is no way to reattach the loose nose back in place by taking some of the back part of the arm and sewing it into the location where the nose was once at. But surgery in general and surgery involving area around the head was still considered dangerous at that time until 19th century, when surgery had been very well-received.
Chopart operated on a lip in 1793 with a flap taken from the neck while Carpue operated on a nose, both of which was considered as Italian method, indicated by pedicle-base skin flaps. Von Graefe, however, modified this method by using the free flap instead, where a flap is taken from another site of the body. John Mettauer became the first American surgeon to perform first cleft palate procedure in 1827. On the field of cosmetic reconstructive surgery, John Roe performed a surgery to a woman to repair her nasal hump.
Harold Gillies, a New Zealand otolaryngologist, performed a lot of procedures using various method of plastic surgery during WWI to help facially disfigured soldiers. The first female-to-male sex reassignment was performed by Gillies in 1946.