The History of Rhinoplasty
Rhinoplasty surgery is performed to improve the cosmetic appearance of the nose or/and to improve its breathing function. Derived from the Greek words rhinos and plassein, which mean nose and to shape, it is one of the oldest surgical procedures in existence. The history of rhinoplasty is rich and interesting. It has been around for thousands of years. According to recoded medical records, nasal surgical techniques began in ancient India and ancient Egypt.
Rhinoplasty in BC Era
Many different cultures and countries have put their imprint on the technique. In fact, the procedure continues to evolve today at a faster pace. Fortunately, it has become less invasive as well as safer. In the BCE, however, things were different. The procedure has its roots in ancient Egypt around 3000BC, during which time, criminals convicted of committing theft and acts of political and religious nature had their noses cut off.
This practice of rhinectomy left countless of offenders unsightly and mutilated. Ancient Egyptian doctors, therefore, decided to develop methods of rebuilding noses. The Ebers Papyrus, the most authoritative and oldest papyrus on Egyptian medical procedures gives information about these nose reconstruction techniques. This document laid the foundation for future improvements centuries later.
Similarly, in ancient India, the practice of amputating a criminal’s nose was common. In 800BC, a prominent physician called Sushruta Samhita began the rebuilding of noses using a more advanced technique than that used by ancient Egyptians. He changed the lives of very many people by removing the stigma once attached to detested criminals, which allowed them to function as normal citizens and re-integrate into society.
He described his technique in his book, which is still available today. He started out working on rebuilding various body parts, such as noses, genitalia, and earlobes. He mostly worked on criminals. To rebuild their noses, he applied a technique called forehead flap rhinoplasty, which is still in use today. Essentially, he took skin from a criminal’s forehead and used it to reconstruct the criminal’s amputated nose.
During the Roman Empire, physicians introduced plastic surgery by way of early medical texts. De Medicina, which means On Medicine, was the first one authored by Aulus Cornelius Celsus. This text details surgical techniques for reconstructing various body parts, including the nose. The Synagogue Medicae, another text authored by Oribasius, the royal physician, focused on techniques to rebuild noses deformed by birth defects.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, the procedure was lost to Europe. During the European Middle Ages, beginning in the 5th century AD, knowledge of the Asian plastic surgery techniques developed by Sushruta Samhita remained largely unknown. However, around 920AD, the publication of a manual called Bald’s Leechbook brought some knowledge about cosmetic surgery to the western world. In the 11th century, Ibn Abi Usaibai, an Arab physician based in Damascus translated Sushruta Samhita’s medical compendium to Arabic. Consequently, it travelled from Arabia to Persia, and then Egypt. Western medicine encountered it in the 15th century.
Another surge in the development of rhinoplasty in the western world occurred in the 1800s, where medicine focused on a new type of patient. Whereas nasal reconstruction was done on criminals in the past, this new era of medicine saw surgeons working to rebuild noses that had been destroyed by arsenic and by war. Many studies were done during this time and numerous medical reports written about physicians of the era. Cosmetic plastic surgery advance rapidly as the 19th century came to a close. European and American surgeons saw rhinoplasty as a great chance to provide a nose that was both beautiful and boasted provide improved breathing abilities.
After the first and second World Wars, developments in cosmetic surgery further improved rhinoplasty techniques. Once seen as a dire necessity, safer anesthesia, and surgical methods made it an elective procedure to those seeking to improve the appearance of their nose. Today, it is no longer an option solely for the rich. In fact, the procedure is often covered by insurance, and it is improving the self-esteem of millions of people around the world.
Use a nose job simulator to see what the potential outcome might look like after cosmetic surgery.