Cosmetic surgery has a long and fascinating history, stretching back to ancient civilizations such as Egypt, India, and China. Over the centuries, the field has evolved, driven by medical advancements, war injuries, and societal preferences. Today, cosmetic surgery continues to thrive, with new technologies and procedures shaping the industry. In this blog post, we will explore the journey of cosmetic surgery, from its early roots to the present day.

Cosmetic Surgery through Ages

Cosmetic surgery, with different degrees of success, has become linked with the pursuit of beauty and rejuvenation.

However, for centuries, this industry was driven by medicinal needs and had nothing to do with aesthetics.

The phrase “plastikos,” from which the term “plastic surgery” is derived, is a Greek word that means “to give shape.” While the concept of perfecting oneself through surgery is a relatively new phenomena, there is evidence that reconstructive surgery stretches back to ancient times.

According to Justin Youssef, who recently published his research on this issue in the European Journal of Plastic Surgery, whether these treatments may be termed cosmetic surgery or not is a historical controversy.

According to Youssef, historians discovered the “first proper description of a reconstructive procedure” in India

Indian physicians were undertaking surgeries comparable to contemporary nose rebuilding around the sixth century BCE.

In a thorough description titled “Sushruta Samhita,” the Indian surgeon Sushruta, known as the “Father of Plastic Surgery,” revealed a remarkably sophisticated procedure for skin repair.

The operation, as In Egypt, included nose repair. According to Youssef, the patients’ goals were mostly aesthetic.

In other ancient civilizations, Chinese doctors are said to have conducted the first effective cleft lip repair in the 4th century. The encyclopedist Aulus Cornelius Celsus reported a treatment in ancient Rome in which extra skin around patients’ eyes was surgically removed.

In a thorough description titled “Sushruta Samhita,” the Indian surgeon Sushruta, known as the “Father of Plastic Surgery,” revealed a remarkably sophisticated procedure for skin repair.

Cosmetic surgeries in the 19th centure

This discipline advanced slowly over the next centuries. The introduction of modern germ theory and the development of anesthetic in the nineteenth century, like many other medical studies, began to influence the practices we see today.

War encouraged the evolution of cosmetic surgery

According to Andrew Bamji, author of “Faces from the Front,” a book that traces the origins of modern cosmetic surgery, the massive number of patients with facial injuries during World War I, combined with advancements in blood transfusion and infection control, allowed doctors to experiment with new and innovative techniques.

In a phone conversation, the author and retired rheumatologist stated, “If you have 100 patients to learn from, that’s actually not a lot, given the different types of injuries you can encounter.”

For example, in early 20th-century France, doctors sometimes attempted to reshape patients’ facial features using paraffin wax. Bamji said that despite the wax’s rigidity at room temperature, when body temperature increased, “it started to melt and then moved down to the lower areas.”

The impact of war on the increase of cosmetic surgeries.

Bamji went on to say that the hospital referenced in the book, Queen Mary Hospital in London, was “the first to try and put all patients in one place,” and it pioneered treatments including skin grafting, bone grafting, face reconstruction, and wound stitching.

At the time, enhancing functionality, such as better swallowing or easier breathing, was a top objective for both military and civilian patients.

The concept of employing surgery to improve one’s looks was still in its infancy. According to Bamji, before World War I, doctors in Europe and America experimented with rudimentary aesthetic operations, which were often greeted with success or failure, and “many of them ended up going wrong.”

For example, the emergence of Botox originally served as a treatment for strabismus, or crossed eyes, in the late 1960s and 1970s. The injections were later harnessed by the cosmetic industry for their skin-smoothing properties and were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating frown lines in 2002.

In the 1930s, some surgeons “performed nose jobs and breast operations,” according to Dr. Richard Ellenbogen’s 1999 article in the American Journal of Cosmetic Surgery. According to Ellenbogen, “most plastic surgeons wanted to be recognized as skilled physicians.”

This field saw major transformations in the postwar decades. According to Bajaj, improved technology, lower dangers, increasing disposable income, and an abundance of physicians after WWII all led to the expanding popularity of cosmetic surgery.

Many of today’s operations, including as breast augmentation, rhinoplasty, and facelifts, became increasingly widespread during the 1960s, particularly in the United States.

The requirements of trauma patients, cancer patients, and those with abnormalities continued to push innovation. However, technology might be utilized to accomplish

Botox has once again helped medicine in recent years, since it is now utilized to treat migraines and spasms. A research published last year revealed that the injections may aid with depression, with the scientists hypothesizing that the paralysis of facial muscles interrupts the feedback loop between unpleasant facial expressions and bad feelings.

Cosmetic surgery had a substantial increase in the 1990s, with the number of procedures in the United States growing tenfold, exceeding the number of reconstructive surgeries.

According to data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the number of cosmetic procedures conducted in the United States in 2005 was nearly double that of reconstructive surgeries.

Ruth Holliday, Professor of Gender and Culture at the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds, stated that celebrity-endorsed cosmetic surgery has also benefited from the desire for it.

According to data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, there were 15.6 million cosmetic procedures performed in the United States last year.

New technology duration

New technology continues to drive the growth of this sector, with approximately 85% of these procedures, which include Botox and fillers, being considered “minimally invasive.”

Tastes continue to change, and the COVID-19 pandemic has also had an impact on the industry, with the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reporting a 15% decrease in cosmetic procedures performed in the United States in 2020 compared to the previous year.

Breast augmentation procedures decreased by 33%, and buttock lift surgeries declined by 27% on an annual basis.

Cosmetic surgery has come a long way since its ancient origins, evolving into a thriving industry that caters to the desires of individuals seeking aesthetic enhancements. From early reconstructive procedures to modern advancements in technology, the field continues to push boundaries. While tastes may change and external factors may influence trends, the demand for cosmetic surgery remains strong. As we look to the future, it is clear that cosmetic surgery will continue to evolve, driven by innovation and the pursuit of beauty and self-improvement.