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Something to be Proud Indian on this Plastic Surgery Day

Plastic surgery is a surgical speciality (not only cosmetic surgery) involving the restoration, reconstruction, or alteration of the human body. It includes cosmetic or aesthetic surgery, hand surgery, microsurgery and treatment of burns.

India is the place where Plastic Surgery originated.

Shocked?

We always think plastic surgery is a western culture brought upon us, we need to reconsider our thought. The fact is that the origin of cosmetic and reconstructive procedures goes back more than 2500 years all mentioned in our glorious Indian history. It’s a common misconception that the “plastic” in “plastic surgery” refers to a synthetic material when it actually derives from the Greek word, Plastikos, meaning “To Mold” or “To Give Form.” Our honourable PM in 2014 also mentioned Plastic surgery skills originating in India.

The most primitive plantations were done by Lord Shiva by attaching an elephant’s head on his son’s body and by Ashwini Kumars who successfully replanted the severed head of Yagna. Thus the history of plastic surgery in India dates as far back or before the Vedic times nearly 4000 years ago.

During the 6th Century BC, an Indian physician Sushruta – widely known as the ‘father of surgery’ – wrote one of the world’s earliest pieces of literature on medicine and surgery. The Sushruta Samhita documented the etiology of more than 1,100 diseases, performing multiple types of surgical procedures – including three types of skin grafts and reconstruction of the nose (also known as Rhinoplasty).

In those times who had lost their noses as punishment for theft or adultery. The nose was considered an organ of pride and the concept of “Naak Cut Jana” was a blemish and Sushruta’s article provides the first written record of a forehead flap rhinoplasty, a technique commonly used today all over the world. Today, surgeons use skin grafts to restore areas that have lost protective layers of tissue due to trauma, infection, burns, as well as to restore areas where surgical intervention has created a loss of skin, as can happen with melanoma removal. Some grafts include blood vessels and muscle, such as in reconstructive breast surgery. Amazingly, these techniques are all explained in the Sushruta Samhita. Sushruta has been rightly called the “Father of Plastic Surgery”. The knowledge of rhinoplasty spread from India to Arabia and Persia and from there to Egypt and Italy in the 15th century. The contribution of ancient Indian surgery in the field of plastic operation can never be underrated.

– Dr Vicky Jain

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