More than 15 Centuries of Nose Jobs!

What is the history of rhinoplasty?

While most of us consider rhinoplasty procedures, commonly known as “nose jobs” as a cosmetic procedure that came into being in the middle of the 20th century and has since been greatly refined, the surgical procedure actually originated in India in the 6th century B.C. This information was reported in The Atlantic and in a book called Venus Envy: a History of Plastic Surgery by Elizabeth Harkin.

Where now, with modern techniques and a talented surgeon, rhinoplasty is a common and safe operation, it is startling to think that the cosmetic alteration of the nose was being performed 15 centuries ago in much more primitive and less sterile conditions. In fact, the early Indian nasal procedure is described in an ancient Sanskrit text by Sushruta, the physician who performed it. Even before his work, physicians c.1550 BC had been known to reconstruct noses that had been removed during rhinectomies, mutilations that were performed at the time as punishments or for religious reasons.

Although present day rhinoplasty procedures primarily consist of shaving and shaping existing tissue, for a very long time nasal surgeries involved building up rather than scraping down. The ancient Indian surgery involved taking a flap of skin from the patient’s cheek and reshaping it into a new nose. Once the original nose was covered, the shape could be altered, and possibly shortened or lengthened.

Early nasal surgery was performed during the Roman Empire (27 BC to AD 476), but by the Middle Ages the art of rhinoplasty was lost. Rhinoplasty didn’t re-enter the limelight in the West until syphilis struck Europe in the late 16th century.

This was because one of the awful symptoms of advanced syphilis is the decay of soft tissue, often destroying the nose and leaving a gaping hole in the middle of the patient’s face.  Out of necessity, because of the many people suffering stigma and infection, newer methods of rhinoplasty were developed to cope with this tragedy, which included recreating noses from the skin of patients’ arms.

In 2016, of course, rhinoplasty is a highly refined, safe, nearly painless operation. If you seek out a surgeon who specializes only in cosmetic nose procedures, you help to ensure yourself of quick recovery and results in keeping with your highest expectations.

Posted in: Rhinoplasty

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