Plastic Surgery Is Not Plastic

shutterstock_28729804-200x300Why do we call it plastic surgery? Perhaps for some, the term plastic surgery carries with it a stigmathe impression that there is something artificial about patients who have undergone plastic surgery. So why dont we just call it cosmetic surgery?

The term plastic surgery is actually derived from the Greek word plastikos, which means to mold or form. Self-improvement has been evident in cultures throughout all of history. For centuries people have taken drastic measures to achieve beauty as they perceived it. Some by tattooing their bodies, placing discs in their lips, piercing ears, binding feet, and filing their teeth. The oldest recorded history of plastic surgery procedures took place in ancient India. Rhinoplasty, commonly known as a nose job, was performed on people who had become disfigured after being punished for a crime. The method of surgery was kept secret and passed down from generation to generation.

In ancient Rome, plastic surgery was also practiced to improve peoples physical appearances, as Romans were subject to scrutiny while bathing in public.

In the early 1800s in Europe, there was a resurgence in the practice of plastic surgery and the term plastic surgery was coined.

The most significant influence in plastic surgery, however, has been war. After WWI the first hospital devoted to reconstructive plastic surgery for veterans was established. WWII brought about the need for many types of procedures to be performed and the first professional association was established during that time. By the 1960s plastic surgery was a well-established medical field.

Developments in plastic surgery have come a long way and imaginative and innovative surgeons are continually developing new procedures to improve peoples lives. And as plastikos is to mold, the field of plastic surgery will continue to mold itself as long as society strives for self-improvement.