10 weird and wonderful facts about plastic surgery

Many people have preconceived ideas about plastic surgery, often thinking it’s purely for movie stars who want to make themselves more attractive. There’s actually a lot more to this age-old process than you might think. Read on for five weird and wonderful facts about plastic surgery.

Fact #1: The word “Plastic” is derived from the Greek word “Plastikos,” which means the ability to mould tissues.

Fact #2: Plastic surgery can be traced back thousands of years to ancient India (6th century BC.) A leading physician known as Sushruta performed some of the earliest rhinoplasties in the world. He became known as the ‘Father of Plastic Surgery’.

Fact #3: During the Renaissance period, plastic surgery was often carried out in barbershops. The barbers who worked in the shop were even expected to know how to amputate people’s limbs and pull teeth, as well as knowing how to cut hair. These workers were referred to as “barber-surgeons.” Thankfully, the world has moved on, and surgery is performed in modern facilities using state of the art technology!

Fact #4: World War I and II resulted in brand-new advancements in plastic surgery. In 1917, the huge rise in facial injuries led surgeon Harold Gillies to develop new techniques for facial reconstructive surgery. He and his colleagues developed many methods of plastic surgery. More than 11,000 operations were carried out on over 5,000 men. These were mostly soldiers who had suffered severe facial injuries from gunshot wounds.

Fact #5: Breast augmentation is the most common plastic surgery procedure in the UK. Figures show that in 2019, 7,727 people underwent breast enlargement.

Fact #6: Plastic surgery isn’t just for women. It’s quickly growing in popularity amongst men, with the most common procedures being liposuction and male breast reductions.

Fact #7: Plastic surgery can be performed on children. For example, infants might undergo a procedure to fix a cleft palate or a treatment known as Otoplasty, which refers to the pinning back of the ears. Under UK law, anyone over 16 can consent to cosmetic surgery. Children younger than 16 must have parental consent.

Fact #8: The first silicone breast implants were invented in 1962 by Thomas Cronin and Frank Gerow. Texan mother-of-six Timmie Jean Lindsey became the first woman to undergo the then ground-breaking procedure.

Fact #9: Plastic surgery fashion shows are a thing. A plastic surgeon known as Ramtim Kassir hit the headlines in 2013 when he created a fashion show designed to demonstrate his handiwork. The show, titled ‘Faces of Beauty’, was held at Fashion Week in New York and involved men and women – all former patients of his – walking down the runway whilst their “before” and “after” photos were displayed behind them.

Fact #10: Only registered doctors can carry out cosmetic surgery in England. You can check if someone is a registered doctor or surgeon on the General Medical Council online register. Some plastic surgeons will have a cosmetic surgery certificate from the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS).

Plastic surgery has grown substantially in popularity over the last few years, but there’s still an air of mystery surrounding it. Far from being modern procedures designed to make celebrities look pretty, this age-old surgical specialty has a fascinating history and has improved countless lives over the years.

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