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Plastic surgery is a discipline that dates back centuries of history, even in ancient times that unfolded in ages past, where the art of healing and curing arose as an instinctive reaction against incidents whose reactions required immediate action.

Rhinoplasty and cheiloplasty were the first surgical interventions performed of which there is a record. The oldest antecedent is found in Susruta Samhita, a collection of Indian medical books written between 800 BC. and 400 A.D. This is why Súsruta, also called “Father of Plastic Surgery of antiquity”, explains in one of his books the way in which a mutilated nose was restored:

“When a man’s nose has been cut off (as punishment) or destroyed (by some disease or war), the doctor will take a leaf of a plant that is the size of the destroyed part, place it on the forehead or cheek, to cut a piece of skin of equal dimension (but in such a way that the skin remains attached at one end). The edges of the stump of the nose are refreshed with the scalpel, to cover it on both sides with the prepared skin, sewing it on the edges. Then he places two thin tubes where the nostrils should go to facilitate breathing and maintain the shape of the applied skin. It is completed by placing sapan powder, licorice roots and berberis on the bloody area, finally covering with cotton. As soon as the skin has integrated into the nose or receiving area, the connection with the donor area is cut” (Súsruta).

For all this, in ancient times they implemented the use of curved and straight needles to make sutures. These being made of bronze and bones and the thread with which they worked in most cases was made with animal tendons and bark fibers. Bengali ants were often used to make sutures; they placed the head of the ant on the lips of the wound so that it bit with its jaws in such a way that the body could be torn off, becoming a kind of natural staple.

The above is just one of the hundreds of examples that exist about the “pioneers” in cosmetic surgery, countless generations of plastic surgeons have been formed who have enriched the different surgical techniques; from the instrumental to the methodical.

There are surgeries that are being performed more and more frequently on a day-to- day basis, generally driven by the desire to adjust parts of the body that do not look as comfortable as the patient requires on an aesthetic level. However, these practices are not miraculous since they must be accompanied by changes not only physical, but also by habits such as diet, exercise and a healthier lifestyle so it can be more effective or even so, what is considered appropriate.

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Dr. Juan Esteban Vargas
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