The History of Plastic Surgery

Written by WD Staff, Skin Care Specialists on March 17, 2015 One Comment

plastic surgery history

Ever wonder how the field of plastic surgery began and how it evolved into what it is today? Here’s an interesting timeline of major milestones in cosmetic surgery:

1597: First textbook on plastic surgery, titled “De Curtorum Chirurgia Per Insitionem” (meaning The Surgery of Defects by Implantations) is published by Gaspare Tagliacozza, professor of surgery and anatomy at the University of Bologna.

1895: First documented breast augmentation procedure is performed. Tissue is transplanted from the patients back to their breast in order to correct asymmetry.

1899: First breast implants are developed out of injectable materials like parrifin wax, beeswax, and vegetable oil.

1910 – 1919: Dr. Vilray Blair distributes documentation on several advanced skin grafting techniques.  Dr. Varaztad Kazanjian, who many consider the founding father of modern plastic surgery, develops various maxillofacial surgical methods heightening interest around the field of plastic surgery.

1924: First major plastic surgery fellowship and training program is established at John Hopkins University.

1931: The American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons (ASPS) is founded.

1937: A group of ASPS members convinces the American Board of Surgery to establish the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), dramatically raising standards in the specialty. Four years later, ABPS comes under the jurisdiction of the American Board of Medical Specialties.

1943: Plastic Surgeon Alma Dea Morani is the first female plastic surgeon.

1950: Cleft lip and cleft palate procedures revolutionize the treatment of facial deformities improving living standards for thousands of patients.

1954: Surgeon Joseph Murray performs the first live organ transplant, a kidney, an achievement that earns him a Nobel Prize in 1990.

1962: First silicone breast implant is utilized.

1970: Advances in craniofacial surgery lead to new techniques and innovations in cosmetic facial surgery.

1980: ASPS Member Surgeon Carl Hartrampf, originally a hand surgeon, develops the TRAM flap technique for reconstructive breast surgery.

1982: ASPS investigates the safety of a new technique for a fat removal being performed in France called lipolysis. After safety concerns are met liposuction is introduced in the U.S. later that year.

1989: Botox is approved by the FDA for therapeutic use in Blepharospasm and Strabismus.

1990: First Q switched tattoo laser removals performed in United States, replacing more primitive means of removal like surgical excision.

1990’s: Plastic surgeons perform more than 1.2 million reconstructive procedures and more than 1 million cosmetic procedures each year in the U.S.

1998: President Clinton signs legislation requiring insurance companies to cover the cost of reconstructive breast surgery after mastectomy.

2000: The potential of the endoscope, a fiberoptic tool used by orthopedic and other surgeons, is introduced into the plastic surgery specialty to reduce scarring and recovery time.

2001: Body contouring is introduced to assist patients with removal and tightening of excess skin after massive weight loss.

2005: The world’s first partial face transplant surgery takes place in France.

2008: SmartLipo introduced into the U.S. market. The addition of laser technology improves the efficacy of the liposuction procedure while reducing pain and recovery time.

2013: The Picosure laser tattoo removal is approved by the FDA and launched in the U.S. The pulsed laser technology removes tattoos in less time (treatments) with minimal side effects.

WD Staff

A united group of skin care specialists from Westlake Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery, Austin's leader in Dermatology and Plastic Surgery. Articles posted under WD staff are authored through combined contributions from our entire team, including Plastic Surgeons, Dermatologists, Aestheticians, Physician Assistants, Aesthetic Nurses, and Patient Coordinators.

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