The history of plastic surgery traces all the way back to ancient Egypt where the faces and bodies of mummies were preserved and altered to enhance appearance and well-being in the afterlife. Rameses II had small bones and seeds inserted to reshape his nose, while Queen Nunjment had dressings stuffed into her cheeks and belly -- perhaps, a hint that implants that would become popular later in history. While historians and surgeons often debate when exactly cosmetic surgery started, they agree that plastic surgery has been part of cultures all over the world for centuries and began to boom in the 19th and 20th century.
In ancient India, sometime between 500 and 800 B.C, Sushruta began repairing limbs and noses lost as a result of punishment. He is recognized as the founding father of cosmetic surgery and one of the first to use skin grafts. In ancient Greece, where the visual appearance of the body and use of public bath houses was the norm, people sought cosmetic surgery for the sake of their own aesthetic and self-esteem. The progression of plastic surgery was one that moved slowly until World War I and World War II when it began to gain momentum.
Severe injuries caused to soldiers resulted in the opportunity for surgeons worldwide to perform reconstructive operations. The wars presented an important time in the development of surgical techniques that had never been used before. In-between the wars, Dr. John Peter Mettauer became the first notable cosmetic surgeon and person in the United States to perform a cleft palate surgery. In the early 1930s, the first organization of plastic surgeons established the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons and continued to pave the way for cosmetic surgeries.
In the 1960s and 1970s the number of cosmetic surgeries continued to surge. In the 1960s a woman from Texas became the first to try silicone breast implants in exchange for an ear surgery. As surgeries became more affordable and technology more advanced, nearly 13 million cosmetic surgeries are performed nationally each year.
History of Plastic Surgery - Famous Plastic Surgeries - Marie Claire