Plastic surgery has been getting a lot of negative media about it for quite a long time, often viewed as vain and unnecessary. People have failed to see the good it has done, both medically and socially; Often mistaken as something new that was made for the sake of vanity and money, the history of plastic surgery is overshadowed by movies and T.V. series that concentrates on the less admirable side of the medical practice, keeping people ignorant of the historical significance of it. It is essential to know the story of both sides before judging anything or anyone.
First some etymology; the word “Plastic” in Plastic surgery is commonly mistaken for the petroleum based product we can find in most of the items we use in our daily lives. In actuality the “Plastic” comes from the Greek word Plastike, meaning “to mold” or “Shape”. The doctors actually use and manipulates live skin added or already on the patient for most procedures.
The first mention of medical procedures that can be associated with plastic surgery can be found in Egyptian documents that date back 3000 years, though it is speculated that the procedures have existed with civilizations prior. Ancient Romans used cosmetic surgery to erase scars from their backs, as it could be considered as a sign of a soldier turning away from the battle, a shameful act for any man of the legion.
In The Great War, soldiers that suffered severe burns were treated and later on put under cosmetic surgery to help them recover socially as well. If you think that they were used as mere test subjects for new medical procedures, you are not wrong but not also right. Doctors often encourage locals to treat the subjects well by inviting them into their homes. It was their goal to not only facilitate physical healing but social and emotional healing as well.
Today, many volunteer doctors go to developing countries to preform plastic surgery. Children with cleft palates are now being treated, people who are treated as outcasts by less educated societies because of their deformities are now able to live normal and happy social lives.
In the case of elective cosmetic surgery, there is nothing wrong with wanting to improve yourself. If it is the choice of the individual, we must respect it, for we will never know what social and personal challenges they are facing.