We tend to think of rhinoplasty procedures as a modern day trend or innovation. Today we can feel confident and enjoy the results of the best rhinoplasty surgeons out there who have trained extensively in this craft. Yet, the history of a rhinoplasty procedure is shockingly, quite a long one. The desire to change one’s appearance or fix breathing problems isn’t all that new. Here, we’ll discuss the fascinating history of rhinoplasties. You’ll surely be grateful that you can now get a nose job in the age of general anesthesia!
Could you say, off the top of your head, how long you think rhinoplasty surgery has been around for? 50 years? 100 years?
You may be surprised to know that there are reports of rhinoplasties going back as far as 3000 years ago, if not more! There are indications that the ancient Egyptians were aware of some techniques for making a broken nose look more natural. They may have even performed simple rhinoplasties to restore noses to criminals who have them lopped off as a punishment. Unfortunately, our physical records of this time remain poor. We do know, however, that the Egyptians performed basic rhinoplasties on mummified bodies, to have them looking their best.
One of the most famous tales of early rhinoplasties comes from 600BC in India. One of the first surgeons in recorded history was the Indian sage Sushruta. He pioneered techniques to help those who had their noses cut off as a punishment. (Until relatively recently, this was a common punishment in many parts of the world.)
Sushruta’s early rhinoplasties didn’t have much in the way of modern equipment to work with or education that plastic surgeons today need to complete. This makes them all the more ingenious. He reportedly would use flaps of skin from the patient’s cheek or forehead to sculpt a new nose. Tubes made of plants would be used to help the patient breathe and keep the shape of the new nose.
Many might assume that a rhinoplasty performed more than 2000 years ago sounds far-fetched. However, British visitors in India reported this technique still being used in the late 18th century – and still working!
Many types of rhinoplasty techniques throughout history would be used to help soldiers who managed to lose their noses in warfare. In the 17th Century, famous Italian Surgeon Gaspare Tagliacozzi specialized in remaking soldiers’ noses using skin from their biceps.
These early rhinoplasty procedures were done without the modern anesthetic or techniques. It’s no wonder that this period also gave us our first stories of botched rhinoplasties. One soldier who went to Tagliacozzi turned what was left of his nose up at the idea of using his own skin for the rhinoplasty procedure. When he tried to take skin from another donor, his new nose lasted only a year before dropping right off! It just goes to show that listening to your rhinoplasty surgeon has always been the best idea.
The real father of modern rhinoplasties is, however, Jaques Joseph, who started his work at the end of the 19th Century. Joseph was a real trailblazer, going beyond simply sewing skin onto the face. He was fired from his clinic for performing one of the first modern otoplasties, fixing a young boy’s oversized ears. The head of his clinic thought he was risking his reputation with his new procedures.
Undeterred, Jaques Joseph would go on to perform the first modern rhinoplasty procedure for nose reduction. He helped a man with an oversized nose get a profile that he preferred better. Once again, Joseph was mocked by his peers, who felt that cosmetic surgery was frivolous.
When World War I broke out, there was suddenly a massive need for cosmetic surgery. Soldiers suffered severe facial wounds during the war, which seemed beyond medicine at that time to fix. Joseph’s time had finally arrived. He began to standardize the strict rules and procedures that define modern rhinoplasties. He turned rhinoplasty from a last-ditch procedure to one that could be safely replicated by cosmetic surgeons all over the world.
The Future of Rhinoplasty
The techniques that Joseph gave us have been refined and developed over time. But there are always new ways that rhinoplasty procedures are improved by the best rhinoplasty surgeons. For example, at Rival, you can use computer imaging to find out what your new nose will look like. Rhinoplasty procedures are faster, safer, and more convenient than at any time in history. If you want to learn more about what modern rhinoplasty in Toronto can do for you, make sure to contact us to book a consultation!