“History of Cosmetic Surgery” by Michelle Roberts
by Journalist Michelle Roberts
For the majority of us, when we hear the words ‘cosmetic surgery’ we naturally think of a modern day surgical procedure, and yet these enhancing alterations were implemented a lot earlier than you might think. In fact, the first instances of cosmetic surgery have been dated as far back as 800BC with skin grafts being used in reconstructive surgery in aboard locations such as India. Although this wasn’t the norm, and was by no means an everyday procedure, it does go to show that cosmetic surgery had and still has a diverse and expansive history that often gets overlooked.
Despite its scattered uses, there are clear indications that the surgical procedures continued to pop up from time to time, although there was a slight lull when this type of surgery was classified as illegal. During the Middle Ages a lot of faith was placed in spirituality and religion rather than science, and therefore most forms of this type of surgery was prohibited by the Church. This coupled with unsafe hygiene standards and general health care helps us to understand how cosmetic surgery nearly ceased to exist. However, as with most scientific advancements, it wasn’t long before progress and better understanding started to be made, and, by the 18th century, with the assistance of the enlightenment, real headway started to be made. This is most clearly represented by a British officer whom had to undergo several operations for injuries he’d sustained to his nose.
As the 19th and 20th century saw more and more wars and violence, cosmetic surgery begun to be a successful and vital means of assisting officers who had suffered terrible injuries during their time in battle. In some regards, it’s fair to say that modern day warfare helped many surgeons to realise just how important appearance could be on patient’s quality of life. This is more than likely why, when the golden years of Hollywood flooded the silver screen, many actors and actresses rushed to enhance and alter themselves to get their dream roles. To get a feel for the scope of its popularity, Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable, to name but a few, opted for surgery to further their careers.
That being said, it wasn’t until the 1980s and 1990s that there was a real boom in the industry for the general population. From this huge step into the public domain, cosmetic surgery has become a popular option for both men and women, especially thanks to the continuous advancements that are helping to make cosmetic surgery less invasive. To get a better understanding of how far technology, safety, and cosmetic surgery in general has come, visit MYA and read up about their services.