The Short History of Plastoc Surgery

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How to reconstruct a lost nose? An instruction can be found in medical compendium which has been written around III AC by Hindu medic Surat. Cutting off the nose was a common punishment for many infringements,  with an adultery, amongst others. The number of people dreaming about having their nose reconstructed was raising dramatically. Surat used to recommend to cut off a leaf-shaped piece of skin out of a cheek and  to stitch it down to a wounded part of a face. Next step was to insert two tubs enabling breathing under the skin. After that the procedure was done.

In 1597 a similar procedures was repeated in Europe by Ga spare Tagalogs, a professor of surgery at the University of Bologna. The Italian was gradually transplanting patients own skin acquired from their forearms, and was stitching it down to the place where nose used to be. For a couple of days a poor thing had to carry his own arm stitched to a face, and only when the transplantation was successfully adopted, Tagalogs cut off the useless lobes of forearm’s skin and formed a substitute nose.

Surgery pioneers

Unfortunately the innovative ideas of the scholar has fallen into oblivion and the possibility of the reconstruction of destroyed or deformed parts of a body was again reminded  in Europe by an English doctor Joseph C. Carper, by the end of XVIII century. Carper spent twenty years in India where he was studying Surat’s scripts. The content of them was summarized by the English doctor and, later on published in London’s Gentleman Magazine ,what has created a sensation. Carped managed to reconstruct tools, designed by the ancient Hindu surgeon. Then, using the tools, English scientist performed two surgery procedures, they were called “bringing back the lost nose”.

Although the surgeries were successful, the plastic surgery used to stay rather marginal branch of medicine and few doctors wanted to get involved into struggling with an ugliness. To confirm how unusual, if not even outrageous, the plastic surgeries were, is enough to mention the case of gynecologist, John Peter Meatier, who was forced to design necessary tools to perform the reconstruction of his clef plate by himself. However unbelievable, he managed to do that single-Handel in 1827 and achieved a nicer face overlook.

The first surgeon in Europe who seriously began to explore plastic surgery was Friedrich Diefenbaker, a principal of surgery clinic of Berlin University Hospital. He became famous in Germany at the forties of the nineteenth century, thanks to his successful appearance improvement surgeries. He mastered techniques of nose, ears, face features enhancement as well as surgical treatment of a squint.

Soon after other German surgeons, mainly Offenbach’s students, gained international fame of wonder workers, able to change the patients appearance diametrically. By the end of nineteen century there was almost nobody who could compete with two professors from Berlin: James Adolf Israel and Jacques Le win . The number of followers was rising steadily, what can be easily pr oven by the increasing amount of newspaper’s announcements in which authors claimed to be capable of forcing ugliness efficiently, for the lavish price of course.

Plastic surgery fashion springing up in Germany has finally came to Polish territories as well. The new challenge was usually struggled with by doctors of Jagielloński University Clinic, under the direction of Professor He used to be considered as one of the greatest master of scalpel of his times. His innovative practice was appreciated and prized by the emperor Francis Joseph I, who ennobled him to be a court chancellor.  as many men at that times, was rather skeptical towards beauty surgeries, and found life saving surgeries as the most important ones, although some of plastic surgery techniques were described by him in his Surgery Handbook. His attitude towards his assistance’s was pretty liberal, he only wanted them to constantly  improve their practical skills. Thanks of that, later on his students formed a group of extraordinarily talented and skilled surgeons who started to perform plastic surgery procedures.

Perfect ears

A specialist of orthopedics doctor Antoni Gabryszewski reminisced the beginning of his adventure with beauty treatment. He recalls an unexpected visit of one of his colleges, who once came to ask him to reconstruct his protruding ears, which caused him a lot of painful mockery. Gabryszewski decided to help, the suffering because of his appearance, scholar. He had no experience in the profession, therefore he was forced to explore the plastic surgery thoroughly firstly. After successful performance, which improved the condition and overall appearance of the miserable friend, he was proud of the results. The surgery and the final result were described by him and eventually published in Polish medical magazine

A friend of doctori, doctor Maximilian W. Herman faced similar situation many times. At that time many people suffered for grouse disease, as a result of which their bodies got damaged. The syphilis especially severely wrecked a nose of a patient, what used to leave an awful mark on people suffering for this disease, till the end of their days. These were the ones who used to ask doctor Herman for the beneficial nose reconstruction. He has developed an innovative technique, which made nose reconstruction more effective, than it has even been so far.

Big risk

Surgeons of that time used to performed very complicated surgeries with rather flawed tools and using rather risky and dangerous anesthesia. With one wrong hand movement a doctor might caused irreversible tragedy. Nevertheless such tragedy seemed to be unknown to Doctor Rudiger and his assistants. When the surgeon has moved to Lvov to become a principal of a local surgery clinic, all his students accompanied him. This way all the best Polish surgeons have moved from Krakow to Lvov. Soon after they started achieving numerous successes.

As contemporary statistics reported at these days many new-born children suffered for a here lip, and around sixty percent of them died as a result of that disease.  Therefore right after diagnostics children undergone plastic surgery. Even though, as a result of bleeding, around thirty-eight percent of infants were dying.

In Lvov clinic the situation looked entirely different. Instated of manual constriction of babies lips the usage of small tweezers were introduced. In such conditions performing surgeries became easier and the danger of bleeding was incomparably smaller. The most important result of that action was that from thirteen children undergone the surgery twelve used to survive, also cosmetic aspect of the procedure could be performed more effectively.

Great Motivation

Following successes caused the increase of the number of surgeons seeking for new challenges, which once performed skillfully were giving them social appreciation and respect, not mentioning profitable reward.

These days plastic surgeries were being performed with rather artistic improvisation than with a doctors precision. A doctor was a sculptor who shaped a human body and very often on the results of his work depended the future performance of a patient.

For the first Polish surgeons such kind of motivation was really significant. They were perfecting their skills in order to help people socially perceived as  repellent. Although in eyes of their colleagues, services performed by them were often seen as trivial and undignified, they used to derive a satisfaction from a possibility of improving some body’s life and making unhappy men happy.


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