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Formation and Development of Modern Cosmetic Surgery

Modern cosmetic surgery began to take shape and develop in the early 20th century.

The development of cosmetic surgical techniques preceded that of plastic surgery. The discipline of cosmetic surgery emerged and developed based on the advancements in modern plastic surgery.

The foundation of modern cosmetic surgery was laid with the invention of skin grafting in the 19th century and the development of tube pedicle grafting by Filatov in 1917 and Gillies in 1920. These techniques provided a solid basis for the growth of modern cosmetic surgery.

Formation and Development of Modern Cosmetic Surgery
Formation and Development of Modern Cosmetic Surgery

During both World Wars, there was a significant need to reconstruct and repair facial and limb deformities and defects in vital organs on the body surface. Surgeons from various specialties, including general surgery, orthopedics, dentistry, and otolaryngology, began performing plastic surgery procedures. This led to the rapid development of plastic surgical techniques and the establishment of plastic surgery as an independent discipline. Renowned cosmetic plastic surgery experts such as Gillies from the UK and Davis and Blair from the United States emerged during this period.

Under the guidance of these influential scholars, the fundamental concepts and techniques of modern cosmetic surgery were established, and a substantial amount of literature was published. The successful treatment of war injuries and the comprehensive repair and functional reconstruction of deformities and defects garnered widespread acclaim and a positive reputation for plastic surgery within the medical community and among the public.

the focus of plastic surgery remained primarily on the head and face
Modern Cosmetic Surgery:the focus of plastic surgery remained primarily on the head and face

During the peaceful period between the two world wars, the focus of plastic surgery remained primarily on the head and face. However, numerous new techniques and methods were introduced. The most significant advancements included the invention of tube pedicle grafting and the refinement of skin grafting, injecting new energy into the formation and development of cosmetic surgery.

After the conclusion of World War II, with the rapid economic growth and increased prosperity, people sought to improve their quality of life. The field of plastic surgery expanded beyond the repair and shaping of congenital or acquired morphological diseases. Surgeries aimed at enhancing beauty emerged, quickly gaining momentum and leading to the rapid development of cosmetic surgery. This gave birth to the field of cosmetic surgery. Various countries established plastic surgery associations, and numerous specialized journals emerged. The most influential international plastic surgery journal, “Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery,” was founded in 1946. The International Society of Plastic Surgery was also established in 1955.

Cosmetic surgery gradually evolved on the foundation of the continuous development of plastic surgery, leading to the publication of several specialized works on cosmetic surgery.

For instance, in 1907, Miller published the first cosmetic surgery monograph in medical history, “The Correction of Featural Imperfections.” In 1911, Koole published “Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery,” and in 1926, Hunt published “Plastic Surgery of Head, Face, and Neck.” The world’s first female cosmetic surgeon, Noel, published a cosmetic surgery monograph in German in 1926. The relentless efforts of these cosmetic surgery pioneers and their innovations in theory and technique, based on the cosmetic medical achievements summarized in their respective clinical research, laid a solid foundation for the development of modern cosmetic surgery.

Originally, “cosmetic” referred to facial makeup, leading to its dismissal and discrimination in the medical field. However, with economic and social development after the 1960s, rising income levels and living standards, people raised their beauty standards. They began to pursue higher standards for their appearance and physical beauty, resulting in an increasing demand for cosmetic surgeries. This advancement propelled the progress and refinement of cosmetic surgery, elevating its disciplinary status in the medical field and gaining widespread societal recognition and high praise.

Cosmetic surgery, as an emerging interdisciplinary field in medicine, has experienced significant development since the 20th century and has evolved into a highly esteemed branch of medicine. This trend can be attributed to two main factors. Firstly, with human progress, the accumulation of social wealth, and the improvement in people’s quality of life, more individuals have been able to fulfill their desire for beauty as basic needs are met. Secondly, the advancement of various cosmetic surgeries, ranging from simple to complex and from superficial to deep, has led to the accumulation of mature experiences and technologies in the field.

the rapid dissemination of cosmetic surgery has been facilitated
Modern Cosmetic Surgery:the rapid dissemination of cosmetic surgery has been facilitated

As anatomical research deepens and progresses, and with advancements in bioengineering and minimally invasive technologies, as well as the continuous improvement and development of medical instruments and equipment, the enhancement of antimicrobial techniques and surgical skills, the ease and speed of academic exchanges, and the use of computer and intelligent means for visual representation, the rapid dissemination of cosmetic surgery has been facilitated.

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