The Evolution of Plastic Surgery

Plastic surgery is a medical specialty that has come a long way since its early days! Today, it is a thriving field that is constantly evolving and advancing with the help of technology and research.

In fact, at Synergy Plastic Surgery, our patients in the Austin, TX, area enjoy access to our state-of-the-art surgical center adjacent to our Synergy Plastic Surgery offices. Our board-certified plastic surgeons, Dr. Mahlon Kerr, Dr. Ross Blagg, Dr. Lauren Crawford, Dr. Ankur Mehta, and Dr. Aisha White team up with an experienced, highly trained, and fully certified medical staff, utilizing the most modern technology in plastic surgery today!

However, the origins of plastic surgery can be traced back to ancient civilizations such as India, where physicians were known to perform reconstructive surgeries as early as 800 BC. Over the centuries, plastic surgery has undergone many changes, with various techniques and procedures being developed to treat a wide range of conditions. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the history of plastic surgery techniques, from the ancient times to modern advancements.

< 800 B.C.

In ancient times, the primary focus of plastic surgery was reconstructive procedures to restore function and appearance to damaged or disfigured body parts. For example, the ancient Egyptians used a form of plastic surgery to repair broken noses, while Indian physicians developed skin grafting techniques to reconstruct ears and noses. In India, nose reconstruction was performed using skin from the forehead in the 6th century BCE. In ancient Rome, plastic surgery was used to repair damaged ears, lips, and noses.

The Greek physician, Galen, also performed surgical procedures to repair facial injuries in the 2nd century CE. However, plastic surgery techniques in ancient times were often crude and lacked the sophisticated tools and techniques used in modern times. Many procedures were performed without anesthesia, leading to high levels of pain and discomfort for the patient. Despite this, plastic surgery in ancient times laid the foundation for modern techniques and the development of new surgical procedures.

14th Century

During the Middle Ages and Renaissance, plastic surgery was often performed by barbers and other non-medical practitioners! During the 14th century, plastic surgery was primarily used to repair disfigurements caused by war and disease. Advancements in cosmetic surgery during this time can be accredited to Italian surgeon, Antonio Branca, who was known for his use of skin grafts to reconstruct noses and ears.

According to the National Library of Medicine, Branca developed a technique where he would take a piece of skin from the upper arm and implant it onto the nose to create a new nose. This technique was later refined by German surgeon Heinrich von Pfolspeundt, who used the same method to reconstruct the nose and lips. While these techniques were primitive compared to modern plastic surgery, they were crucial in developing the foundation for the field!

However, it wasn’t until the advent of modern medicine in the 19th century that plastic surgery became a more formalized discipline.


The 19th century was a significant time in the history of plastic surgery. Surgeons during this era developed new techniques and instruments that enabled them to perform more complex and extensive procedures. In fact, the first plastic surgery procedures in the modern sense were performed during World War I, where plastic surgeons were tasked with reconstructing the faces of soldiers who had suffered severe injuries. The use of anesthesia also became more widespread, allowing surgeons to operate for longer periods of time and with greater precision.

Notable plastic surgery procedures of this time period included the development of rhinoplasty techniques to correct nasal deformities, the introduction of cleft lip and palate repair, and the refinement of skin grafting methods. Despite the progress made, plastic surgery during the 19th century was still considered a risky and controversial practice, with many people viewing it as frivolous or unnecessary. Nonetheless, the innovations of this time period paved the way for future advancements in the field of plastic surgery.

20th Century

In the mid-20th century, plastic surgery became more popular as a means of cosmetic enhancement.

The 20th century saw a significant advancement in plastic surgery techniques, including the introduction of anesthesia and antibiotics, which made surgeries safer and more effective. In the mid-1900s, reconstructive surgeries for soldiers wounded in war became a major focus. During this time, techniques such as skin grafting, tissue expansion, and microsurgery were developed, which allowed for more complex and intricate surgeries.

The rise of cosmetic surgery can be credited to the introduction of the first breast implants in the 1960s, followed by a wide variety of procedures that have been developed to enhance and modify various parts of the body. In the latter half of the 20th century, the development of lasers and other advanced technologies led to the introduction of minimally invasive procedures like laser skin resurfacing and injectable fillers. Today, plastic surgery continues to evolve and improve, with new techniques and technologies constantly being developed to enhance safety and achieve optimal results!

Today, plastic surgery has become increasingly sophisticated, with advanced technology and techniques that allow for greater precision and better results. At Synergy Plastic Surgery, our commitment to using the most advanced technology available is a testament to our dedication to providing the highest quality care and results to our patients!

If you are considering a plastic surgery procedure, rest assured that our surgeons are dedicated to providing patients with the best possible results. This commitment starts with using state-of-the-art medical equipment and advanced surgical techniques. Our plastic surgery centers are accredited by the American Association for the Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF). This independent nonprofit organization grants its seal of approval to only those facilities that meet its rigorous standards for safety through a thorough application and inspection processes. We are proud to maintain this certification to give our patients the peace of mind they need to feel comfortable and confident during their procedures!

Our board certified plastic surgeons invite you to schedule your complimentary consultation here or contact us at (512) 244-1444 today, and take the first step towards achieving your Synergy Experience!

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