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Interesting Facts About Cosmetic Surgery

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While many are familiar with the concept of plastic surgery, there are numerous intriguing and lesser-known facts surrounding this field. In this article, we delve into surprising facts about plastic surgery, shedding light on its historical origins, and popular procedures, and debunking common myths. Whether you’re curious about the history of specific surgeries or interested in dispelling misconceptions, these facts will provide you with a deeper understanding of the fascinating world of plastic surgery.

Plastic surgery has two major branches

Plastic surgery can be broadly categorized into two branches: cosmetic surgery and reconstructive surgery. Cosmetic surgery focuses on enhancing aesthetic appearance, while reconstructive surgery aims to correct deformities caused by trauma, birth defects, or medical conditions. Interestingly, the origins of reconstructive surgery date back to ancient times, with early techniques recorded in ancient India as early as 800 BC.

Breast augmentation is the most frequently performed plastic surgery in the United States

Among the various plastic surgery procedures performed, breast augmentation stands as the most commonly sought-after surgery in the United States. Approximately 300,000 breast augmentation procedures are performed annually. This procedure involves enhancing the size, shape, or symmetry of the breasts through the use of implants or fat transfer.

Breast augmentation surgery has a rich history of development

Breast augmentation surgery has evolved significantly over the years. The first documented breast augmentation procedure took place in 1895 when a new breast was created using a graft from the patient’s back. Subsequently, a variety of materials were experimented with, including oil, beeswax, paraffin, cartilage from animals, and even glass balls. It wasn’t until the early 1960s that silicone and saline implants were introduced, providing more reliable and safer options for breast augmentation.

Facelifts have a long-standing history in plastic surgery

Facelifts, also known as rhytidectomies, have been performed for over a century. The first recorded facelift procedure took place in Berlin in 1901, performed by Eugen Hollander. The advancements in facelift techniques and understanding of facial anatomy have since led to improved outcomes. In fact, the first textbook on facelifts was published in 1907, marking a significant milestone in the development of this popular cosmetic procedure.

The art of rhinoplasty dates back thousands of years

Rhinoplasty, a surgical procedure aimed at reshaping or reconstructing the nose, has a rich and ancient history. The earliest documented evidence of rhinoplasty dates back to 500 BC in ancient India, where the physician Susrata pioneered various plastic surgery techniques, including nasal reconstruction. These Indian methods of rhinoplasty gained such renown that Western doctors traveled to India in the 18th and 19th centuries to study these surgical practices. Notably, Italian plastic surgery pioneer Gaspare Tagliacozzi also contributed to the field, publishing a treatise on plastic surgery, including rhinoplasty, in the 16th century.

Plastic surgery is not named after the material “plastic”

Contrary to popular belief, the term “plastic” in plastic surgery does not refer to the use of plastic materials. The word “plastic” derives from the Greek term “Πλαστικός/Εύπλαστος,” meaning malleable or moldable. Plastic surgery focuses on reshaping and reconstructing tissues, rather than utilizing plastic materials. The materials used in modern plastic surgery procedures often include silicone, or grafts harvested from the patient’s body, ensuring compatibility and minimizing the risk of rejection.

Plastic surgery cannot halt the natural aging process

While plastic surgery can enhance one’s appearance, it is important to note that it does not halt the natural aging process. Regardless of any procedures undergone, individuals will continue to age. Factors such as lifestyle choices, diet, exercise, and skincare routines play a significant role in the aging process. Plastic surgery can provide improvements but cannot entirely prevent the effects of time.

Scarring is a natural outcome of plastic surgery

Like any surgical procedure, plastic surgery can leave behind scars. However, skilled plastic surgeons are adept at minimizing and effectively concealing scars. For example, facelift incisions are strategically placed around the ear area to ensure they are less noticeable. Surgeons also take advantage of natural wrinkles and creases to camouflage scars, providing a more natural appearance after healing.

Plastic surgery is not exclusive to celebrities

Contrary to popular perception, plastic surgery is not limited to celebrities and the wealthy. The field of cosmetic surgery has evolved to become more accessible and affordable to a wider range of individuals. Nowadays, an increasing number of men are also opting for cosmetic procedures such as liposuction, gynecomastia treatment, and hair transplants. Additionally, plastic surgery is not restricted by age, with reconstructive procedures being performed across various age groups. While children are typically advised against undergoing cosmetic procedures due to ongoing growth, reconstructive surgeries cater to individuals of all ages. It is worth noting that the majority of individuals seeking plastic surgery fall within the 35-50 age category.

Silicone breast implants do not increase the risk of breast cancer

There is a common misconception that silicone breast implants elevate the risk of developing breast cancer. However, extensive studies have been conducted, consistently indicating that silicone breast implants do not increase the likelihood of breast cancer. If any concerns or discomfort arise following breast augmentation, it is essential to consult with a medical professional promptly.

Cosmetic surgery has limitations

While cosmetic surgery can address various concerns, it is important to recognize its limitations. The outcomes of cosmetic procedures are influenced by an individual’s unique genetic composition, anatomy, and existing physical characteristics. Skilled surgeons, such as Dr. Stavrou, aim to provide the best possible results based on the individual’s circumstances and realistic expectations.

Plastic surgery is not exclusive to celebrities and the elites

Plastic surgery is no longer exclusive to celebrities or the elite. The field has become more inclusive, offering affordable options and flexible payment arrangements. The thriving cosmetic surgery industry caters to the average person’s desire to enhance their appearance, making plastic surgery a viable option for many.

Follow-up procedures are not always necessary

While some procedures may require occasional adjustments or revisions, most plastic surgeries are performed as one-time procedures. Routine follow-up procedures are not a universal requirement. In certain cases, breast enhancements may require further adjustments, such as changing implant size or addressing post-operative concerns like sagging. However, each individual’s situation is unique, and it is important to consult with a qualified plastic surgeon to determine the appropriate course of action.

Plastic surgery was officially recognized as a specialty in 1938

The formal recognition of plastic surgery as a surgical specialty occurred in 1938 when it was acknowledged by the American Board of Surgery. This recognition marked a significant milestone for plastic surgeons, who could now undergo standardized training and examinations before becoming board-certified. The emergence of plastic surgery as a recognized discipline coincided with the need for reconstructive procedures to address the injuries sustained by soldiers during both World Wars. Since then, the field has continued to evolve, benefiting from ongoing advancements and refinements in surgical techniques.

Plastic surgery, encompassing both cosmetic and reconstructive procedures, holds a rich history and intriguing facts. Knowing the basics of plastic surgery is a must for anyone considering any surgical procedure, especially as it continues to gain popularity. By understanding the facts about plastic surgery, individuals can make informed decisions that best suit their needs and expectations.

Interested to know more? Read our article that provides useful tips and advice on cosmetic surgery.


Dr Stavrou is a board-certified and highly experienced plastic surgeon in Cyprus, Greece and Malta, with a keen interest in informing patients about the latest updates on reconstructive and cosmetic plastic surgery.

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