The Bizarre and Fascinating History of Cosmetic Surgery

Plastic surgery procedures are at an all-time high around the world, with the number of procedures ranking into the millions, along with at least several million patients. With procedures ranging from noninvasive therapeutic treatments to facial reconstruction, it’s near impossible not to find a procedure that is right for you. But did you know that plastic surgery, while a fine art that has been perfected through the ages, has actually been around since 1200 B.C.?

Cosmetic Surgery in Ancient Egypt

The ancient Egyptians hoped to send Ramses II off to the afterlife with a face that would be forever accepted into the world of the dead, so they “stuffed” his rather large nostrils with twigs and seeds so that it would be recognizable.

The First Nose Jobs

Plastic surgery only became much more interesting, and, quite frankly, frightening, following this first procedure. For example, in India approximately 600 years later, a surgeon found a way to replace amputated noses of criminals who were ostracized by society.

Prior to Anesthesia, “Cosmetic Surgeons” Used Alcohol and Opium

The ancient Romans used plastic surgery to correct stretched earlobes on women, remove the branding marks of slaves, and one Roman even created a basic guide that would live on for several hundred years as the “how-to” reference for plastic surgery. Be thankful today, though, for all the medical breakthroughs — as the Romans used opium and alcohol to subdue patients, who remained alert and oftentimes awake through a cosmetic procedure.

Opium for cosmetic surgery

photo by Jim Chambers

In addition to being at the forefront of plastic surgery during their heyday, Roman doctors also experimented on many of the disfigured Roman soldiers who were cast aside following bloody battles.

Rhinoplasty in India

Eventually, the first version of “rhinoplasty” was developed in India, but tweaked by an Italian doctor who removed forearm skin and placed it on the nose. This required the forearm to be attached to the nose for almost a month. This method started in the 9th century and continued to be used for several centuries.

Overall, cosmetic surgery has seen many faces, no pun intended. Today, however, it is a popular practice that has helped many regain the confidence they need to live fuller lives without being held back by what they deem flaws. It is also a life-changing experience that will have you feeling forever young in a society that places a lot of weight on age and beauty.

Learn more about finding the best cosmetic surgeon and receiving the best cosmetic surgery in New York — the number one spot for getting an outstanding procedure that will last a lifetime. Call us today at (212) 380-3634.

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Dr. Konstantin Vasyukevich

Board-Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon

Dr. Konstantin is a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon specializing in artful treatment of the aging face, eyelids, and neck. He performs more than 1,000 facial cosmetic procedures annually, making him one of the busiest facial plastic surgeons in Manhattan.

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Copyright © 2018 Dr. Konstantin Vasyukevich. All rights reserved.

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Dr. Konstantin Vasyukevich is a board-certified facial plastic surgeon specializing in cosmetic and reconstructive facial plastic surgery for patients throughout New York City, Manhattan, and Brooklyn. His expertise includes facelifts, brow lifts, blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery), rhinoplasty, and cosmetic injectables including BOTOX® Cosmetic and fillers.