Cosmetic Surgery - 800BC to 1920's Hollywood A Listers
Altering the way we look is one the the most ancient human practices. Throughout history there has been a pursuit of visual self improvement.
Whether it be to alter our appearances to correct an injury, slow down the aging process or attract a mate. As our species has evolved so have the surgical practices used.
There is evidence as far back as 4000 years ago of a surgical procedure being used to correct facial injuries. As early as 800 BC, skin grafts were being utilised for reconstructive surgical work in India.
It wasn't until the eighteenth century however, during the age of enlightenment and scientific thought that real advancement was made. The great thinkers of that time sought to understand science and technology. This helped advancements in cosmetic surgery to take a giant leap forward. In 1814 an operation was successfully performed on a British Military Officer who had suffered substantial injuries to his nose.
During the First World War medical advancements in anaesthesia and sterilisation combined with the unprecedented scale of horrifc injuries led to some of Europes most skilled and innovative surgeons dedicating themselves to treating wounded soldiers during and after the war. Military physicians were expected to treat extensive facial and head injuries caused by warfare.
Surgeons recognised the influence that an individuals appearance can have on their quality of life.
In Hollywood as early as the 1920's the advancement made during those years of war were being pushed forward further still. Stars of the Golden Age were going under the knife in a bid to use cosmetic surgery to land themselves film roles.
The early experimentations were not too successful. As stated by Carrie Fisher "My mother (Debbie Ryenolds) was made to have her ears pinned back and they wanted her to have a nose job; but she refused the nose job because they were really butchering them back then".
It is surprising how many Hollywood A-Listers used cosmetic surgery to enhance their looks. In 1949, Marilyn Monroe agreed to have a chin implant to improve a weak jawline. A short while later she landed a breakthrough film role and within three years she had become one of Hollywood's biggest stars. Other stars to have had surgery include Clark Gable, who had his teeth fixed and his ears pinned back and Dean Martin who had Rhinoplasty.
In the 1980's the economic boom began to make cosmetic surgery more accessible to the mainstream population.
At the start of the new millenium, cosmetic surgery has exploded in its popularity becoming an ongoing trend that appeals to society as a whole.
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