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Plastic Surgery

History Of Plastic Surgery

Long before the word plastic was first applied in 1818 to denote surgery largely concerned with the pa tient's appearance, physicians performed a number of reconstructive procedures on the noses and ear lobes of soldiers who were injured during battle. As far back as 25 B.C. to A.D. 50, physicians were taking tissue from one part of the body and using it to correct physical defects in other areas. Much of the ancient pioneering efforts in plastic surgery took place in the ancient Arab and Hindu schools of medicine.

During the early part of the sixteenth century, the Branca family in Sicily began practicing plastic surgery procedures, including using flaps or masses of tissue from patient's arms to repair mutilated ears and lips. However, Gaspare Tagliacozzi of Bologna, Italy, is generally credited with initiating the modern era of plastic surgery during the latter half of the sixteenth century.

After Tagliacozzi's death in 1599, the art of plastic surgery languished for nearly two centuries, partly because many surgeons tried unsuccessfully to use donor flaps and skin from slaves and others. The transplantation of tissue between two individuals would not be successfully achieved until the second half of the twentieth century, when scientists learned more about differences in blood types and immune systems and the role these differences played in hindering transplantation of tissues between two people.

A resurgence of interest in plastic surgery began in the nineteenth century with renewed interest in reconstruction of the nose, lips, and other areas of the human body. During this time, a number of surgeons throughout Europe refined techniques for performing a variety of procedures. One of the most beneficial was the development of skin grafting on humans in 1817 to repair burnt or scarred skin.

The next major advances in plastic surgery would not take place until well into the next century, when various new flap techniques were developed in the 1960s and 1970s. The first successful reattachment of a severed arm was accomplished in 1970. And, in 1972, the advancement of microsurgical techniques that enabled surgeons to reattach minute nerves and blood vessels further enhanced this surgical field. It was during this time that cosmetic plastic surgery also began to bloom, as new techniques were refined to enhance physical appearances, including breast implants and face lifts.

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