Cosmetic surgery has become increasingly more popular in recent years, mainly due to technological advances. Cosmetic surgery has been developing in varying forms for thousands of years across the world.
The initial origins of cosmetic surgery can be traced back to India during the eighth century BC. The revered surgeon Susrutha was an early pioneer who learnt to apply skin grafting techniques and published the Sushruta Samhita, detailing procedures similar to rhinoplasty and otoplasty.
Seven hundred years later, cosmetic surgery was starting to gather pace within the Roman Empire. Documentation from the era shows that Roman surgeons were capable of performing less elaborate operations such as repairing damage to people's ears.
Evidence of origins of cosmetic surgery in Europe has been found dating back to the fifteenth century. The German doctor Heinrich von Pfolspeundt documented an operation to completely replace a patients nose which had been severely damaged. Pfolspeundt described removing skin grafts from the patients arm and using it to replace the original skin covering the nose. Although the operation was well received, procedures such as these were deemed to high a risk due to a lack of extensive knowledge and implicit hazards involved with working around the facial area at the time. It took until the mid nineteenth century, when more knowledge had been collated, for surgeries to offer cosmetic surgery as part of their range of operations across the board in Europe.
America's first noted plastic surgeon emerged during the early nineteenth century. Dr. John Peter Mettauer received acclaim for performing the first documented cleft palate operation, using surgical instruments he had created to his own personal specification.
Leading on to more contemporary procedures, New Zealand's Sir Harold Gillies is perceived as a visionary within his chosen field. Haled as a father to modern plastic surgery, Gillies was pushed by the ravages of the First World War and was confronted by a considerable number of soldiers suffering from injuries to the face. During desperate times, Gillies went on to pioneer procedures still common in cosmetic surgery today.
Although advancements in cosmetic surgery have been relatively slow throughout the ages, the cosmetic surgery industry is now developing very healthily. In America alone, recent statistics revealed that during 2004, approximately twelve million operations were performed.
In August 2006, the International Society of Aesthetic Surgery held a corporate function in Copacabana, Brazil. The event was attended by over two thousand industry professionals representing almost eighty nations and was billed as being the largest meeting for the cosmetic surgery industry ever held.
Cosmetic surgery is increasingly becoming more prominent in the public eye. In Britain and across the world, entertainment magazines publish more articles often involving celebrities and high profile public figures.
Many new television serials and series produced in America focus on cosmetic surgery and have proven to be successful. This can only tell us how the subject continually manages to captivate the imaginations of millions of people, stirring public perceptions.