The Beginnings in Plastic Surgery

Starting in ancient times, whenever civilizations reached a certain level of development or sophistication, you will find among other artistic pursuits the practice of Plastic Surgery and Cosmetic Surgery. The Chinese, the Egyptians, the Greeks and Romans all had plastic surgery in one way or another.

In fact the word plastic come from a Greek word "plastiko" which is to mould and transform. The ancient Egyptians used gold threads to beautiful the skin. It is an innate desire of our human species to look and present better version of ourselves to the world.

The last century had been marked by a series of horrible warfares starting with the first World war. Plastic surgery as a field honed its skills for reconstruction due to the demands of war injuries.

Since the 1980's, because of the relative peace and prosperity in the world, the practice of plastic surgery became more focused on beautification and enhancement rather than corrective/reconstructive work.

Start Start of Cosmetic, Aesthetic Medicine

Botulinum toxins were discovered by the Carruthers, which I had the privilege to meet in Vancouver in 2006.

The Carruthers are a husband and wife team who discovered the potential for botulinum toxin in wrinkle reduction. Jean Carruther is an eye surgeon in British Columbia, Canada. Her husband Alistair Carruther is a dermatologist. They found that botulinum toxins reduced the appearance of the crow's feet when she injected the eye for other medical indications. Their discovery started a revolution in aesthetic medicine, cosmetic and plastic surgery, which they could not have imagined.

Eventually, the procedure to reduce the crow's feet with onabotulinum toxin got the FDA approval in 2002. And the rest was history.

Improving Appearance, Enhancing Confidence

In the years that followed, the aesthetic cosmetic surgery industry saw an avalanche of technologies ranging from dermal fillers, lasers and energy devices. Some of these were mega hits in the industry while other faded into the background.

The cosmetic, aesthetic component of plastic surgery is now usually larger than the reconstructive components. At least this is true in private practice in much of the developed world. With livelihoods of the population secured and creature comforts provided for easily, people are turning their attention to improving their appearance. And in the process, they enhance their confidence.

Reflections about the World

While it is true that many plastic surgeons and aesthetic physicians from the developed world volunteer their services to alleviate suffering in poorer countries by offering free reconstructive work for specific populations, their work cannot have enough impact unless the fundamental inequalities are addressed, and basic public health infrastructure are provided for. Sadly, the Covid pandemic has shown more than ever the cracks in society not just among countries, but also within countries. I wish I could do more, but better leave it to the experts rather than pontificating on this subject.

Anyways, for those would are interested, here's An interesting bit of of history about plastic surgery from ancient times till now as we emerge from Covid, from CNN (I know, it's strange, but it is well written)