The history of plastic surgery is more freaky than you might think.

When we compliment a newborn child, the best way to say it is “this nose is like mommy’s” or “these eyes are like daddy’s.” We are destined to look like our parents from the moment we are born. We are destined, from birth, to look like our parents.

It’s a matter of destiny whether we look good or not.

Coincidentally, people are now increasingly concerned about their looks and body. The terms “face value”, “eye appeal” and “visual animal” have been coined. When “face value” is added to a person’s rating, looks are important enough to constitute a factor in a person’s success.

The popularity of the flow of youngsters and the sky-high price of photos at auction all reflect the distorted attention people pay to “face value”.

Just like everyone’s intelligence is different, the differences in looks constitute the life of the divide, but also only let people sigh a “bad life”. As the saying goes, there are a thousand ways to be ugly. At least different faces can show different characteristics such as fortitude, strength, kindness, joy, etc. But nowadays, people are no longer satisfied with the different looks.

But now, people are no longer satisfied with “a thousand different kinds of ugliness” and are embracing medicine.

Surgery, the medical treatment that people see as changing their lives for the better.

Plastic surgery is indeed an easier and more successful way to change one’s life than the “broken bones” that requires diligent and painstaking study and saves one’s height.

According to a set of data in 2014, a total of 20 million cases of plastic surgery was performed around the world. South Korea has 107,000 cases of “open-angle” surgery, Brazil 50,000 people choose buttock augmentation surgery, the United States 1.35 million people choose breast augmentation … … … …

In order not to lose the eye appeal, this year there is a “graduation plastic surgery” boom in China, the performance of plastic surgery increased by 50%. From face shape to facial features, from body shape to breast size, there is nothing that cannot be changed by modern cosmetic surgery, except on the inside.

The mass media has provided more information exposure for plastic surgery.

(a) Data found that 13 per cent of people learned about cosmetic surgery by accidentally seeing an advertisement or billboard.

66% of people learn about plastic surgery from news about celebrity plastic surgery.

32 per cent were concerned about cosmetic surgery because they saw a movie or TV show that mentioned it.

24% of people are exposed to cosmetic surgery information through hot online issues and web ads.

The overwhelming amount of information and the perceivable plastic surgery craze. All of this makes us instinctively assume that cosmetic surgery is a modern phenomenon. But in reality, it’s been around longer than most people can imagine.

At least not one of its origins is the “face-lift” of a healthy person.

It’s hard to trace the first time a knife was applied to the face. Similar surgeries have been recorded in ancient China and other ancient civilizations. In medieval Europe, facial injuries were treated when barbers were still in possession of the bayonet.

But without surgery and aseptic surgery, “plastic surgery” is meaningless. On the one hand, severe pain requires quick surgery, and quick surgery is difficult to take into account the issue of scarring. In the era of no sterile environment, cosmetic surgery is really “I’d rather die for beauty”.

Then why do we need “plastic surgery” in such a period?
According to medical historian Margaret Perrin, it was closely tied to the culture of the time. Damaged or ugly looks were not only required more study at the time, but were also considered an outward sign of an ugly inner self. Surgery was chosen in order to avoid stigmatization, for example, a skin graft was required for a facial ulcer caused by syphilis.

Skin grafting is actually extremely risky, as it can happen when a mass graft leads to infection, or when the skin loses its activity and is rejected. The skin graft with the tip is the most effective solution for a time when antibiotics are not available.

This is done by removing the skin to be grafted, leaving a section unbroken to ensure the blood supply until the connection at the other end is established. It is then transplanted over intact. It is well documented that the first skin graft with a clitoral flap was performed in Europe in the 16th century.

Harold Gillies, a British war doctor known as the “Father of Plastic Surgery”, was also an advocate of this technique. Gillies was an ear, nose and throat surgeon who volunteered to serve in the army during the First World War.

He saw a surgeon on the battlefield removing a tumor from a patient’s face and then cutting a piece of skin from the patient’s jaw to cover it back. He became interested in this and came up with the idea of facial repair.

Shortly thereafter, he performed surgery on Navy heavy gunner Walter About. Walter had been disfigured during the Battle of Jutland by shell shrapnel concentrated in his face. Gillis cut a piece of skin from Walter’s shoulder and grafted it onto his face.

This is also believed to be, the first plastic surgery based on modern medical theory.

Subsequently, he opened a hospital specializing in facial restoration.

He performed tens of thousands of operations on soldiers whose faces had been disfigured by war and repaired many noses and jaws. Because of the battlefield environment, he only considered recovery and ensuring the safety of his patients. This was one of the more extensive uses of cosmetic surgery for orthodontics.

In fact, in most parts of the world, plastic surgery also begins with orthodontics. This includes the Asian plastic surgery powerhouse, South Korea, which also embraced cosmetic surgery from the mid-20th century. The Korean War had just ended, and American surgeons came to Korea to help perform surgical procedures. American plastic surgeons also came to Korea at that time to promote corrective cleft lip and harelip surgery.

In the U.S., the “pheasant surgery” was introduced even earlier, after the rapid growth of the country around World War I. In a British magazine in 1901, Dermot’s face was changed into a pheasant’s face. The company (Derma Featural) claims to be able to fix nose deformities, beckoning ears and wrinkles.

Their technique, however, doesn’t seem to work.

The exact surgical solution is to be found in court records from 1908. The repair method they used was still to cut skin from the arm and cover the nose. The other was to inject paraffin wax into the nose and have the surgeon twist and shape it.

Naturally, the results were not good, or we wouldn’t have to look in the court records.

In fact, cosmetic surgery was still performed for “orthodontic” purposes at that time.

The difference is that the deformity was no longer the result of disease or war, but rather the result of aesthetics.

Modeled after the white man, the parts of the ear, nose, and breasts began to have standards. Especially in the United States, big noses and flat noses, for example, were clearly seen as symbols of ugliness.

If a Caucasian was unfortunate enough to have a large nose, he or she would choose to have surgery so as not to be seen as an “inferior race. In the late 19th century, for example, American doctor John Roy invented the intranasal rhinoplasty, which was highly regarded.

At that time, breasts that were too small or sagging were seen as a defect. There was also a market for breast augmentation surgery for this reason, although few breasts were actually successfully enlarged.

In 1924, an advertisement was placed in the New York Daily Mirror: “Who is the ugliest woman in New York?” Advertisers promise that women who can prove they are the ugliest in the city will receive a free beauty change service – plastic surgery.
An unprecedented “Clown Contest” is held.

As plastic surgery was still too extravagant for ordinary people, the contest was naturally very popular. Given the social situation at that time, only the high society could afford to pay for it. Celebrities were another powerful consumer group.

Mike Jackson, the music superstar, had many plastic surgery experiences.

With the rapid development of plastic surgery technology, plastic surgery has gradually entered the middle class and become a red sea. In Korea, plastic surgery technology has matured since the 1970s, and the number of plastic surgery clinics has grown to 1,000. Since the 1970s, plastic surgery has matured, and the number of plastic surgery clinics has grown to 1,000, with more sophisticated techniques that make the face look more natural.

Plastic surgery technology is gradually able to hold up most people’s visions.

But the possible dangers of cosmetic surgery cannot be ignored.

Rupture or even distortion and displacement of the filler during breast augmentation surgery can lead to calcium deposits, stiffness and pain.

oculoplastic, which can result in blurred vision, infection, subcutaneous bleeding, and severe potential blindness.

(b) Liposuction may result in “pockets” of skin, which appear loose without fat support and, more seriously, may lead to kidney problems and death.


After all, as a surgery, risks are bound to exist. And beyond the risks, it is not always possible to meet the expectations of the plastic surgeon. The only thing that has remained the same for so long is that plastic surgery relies on society’s definition of beauty.

These are the most common reasons why people who have been through plastic surgery have become addicted to it: They are never satisfied with the way they look, and they keep going to the operating room.

And what would be the opposite of a huge risk?

A pretty face tends to be perfect, but not a successful life. After all, cosmetic surgery is only a biological change and never comes with a social change.

Just like make-up and dressing, plastic surgery is a form of becoming beautiful. It’s just a matter of asking yourself if you can accept the risk when fantasizing about an infinitely more glamorous future.

And then make the choice you think is right.


Samuel M. Lam, John Orlando Roe: Feather Arch Facial Plast Surg. 2002.

Michelle Smith. Friday essay: the ugly The history of cosmetic surgery. theconversation.

Michelle Smithe. the ugly history of cosmetic surgery. independent.

How do you fix a face that’s been blown off by shrapnel. BBC.
Harold Gillies. Wikipedia.

Lian Dandan. Mass media: an enabler in cosmetic surgery advocacy. Kim Media. 2016.

Kero. Interview: Why do Koreans love plastic surgery. BBC China.

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