Plastic surgery celebrates 100th birthday
This year sees the 100th birthday of plastic surgery, which continues to grow in popularity year on year. Last year alone saw 20 million procedures conducted worldwide, varying from the female breast enlargement to the male breast reduction. Below, we have taken a quick look at how plastic surgery has evolved over the years.
The idea of grafting skin from one section of the body to another dates back many centuries, but the term plastic surgery was created back in the 1830’s. It was derived from the Green word “plastikos” which means “to be moulded.” However, the birth of modern plastic surgery has very much been traced back to 1915.
Harold Gillies was an ear, nose and throat surgeon who volunteered to serve in the Red Cross in Belgium during the First World War. Many soldiers had been badly affected by the conflict, leaving them with disfigurations that Gillies looked to rectify.
Many of these injuries could not be resolved using a skin graft, which led to a technique known as the tube pedicle being developed. This involved cutting a strip of healthy flesh, but leaving one end still attached to the body. The flap was then “swung” into the new area, and folded back on itself over the wound. This would encase the living tissue and blood supply, preventing infection.
These surgeries were developed to try and aid soldiers to live a “normal life”, and became further developed in order to appeal to other members of the public who were either suffering from ailments, or who wished to have their self-confidence restored.
In 1920, silent movie actor Rudolph Valentino had his ears pinned back, which was shortly followed by Gloria Swanson having a facelift. This led to a bond being formed between plastic surgeons and Hollywood actors.
Fast forward to 1962, and plastic surgery continues to make great advancements. A Texas woman called Timmie Jean Lindsey became the first ever woman to have silicone breast implants, which continues to be a very popular procedure to this day. This was followed a few years later in 1987 by the creation of liposuction, where dermatologist Jeffrey Klein developed a technique where fat could be sucked out whilst the patient was under general anaesthetic. This proved to be very popular, and continues to be so today.
Plastic surgery continues to vary from continent to continent in terms of which procedures are most popular. For example, South Korea favours the look where it is apparent that an individual has had surgery, whereas people in the UK currently favour the more subtle procedures. Some people undergo surgery in order to try and stop the aging process, where others favour it due to self-esteem issues. These trends will surely continue to change over the years, with further advancements expected during the next 100 years!
Whatever the reason for undergoing a procedure, it is clear that the work of Gillies is still being used today to help transform people’s lives. If you have any questions surrounding any of the plastic surgery procedures offered here at Belvedere, please do not hesitate to contact us.