Plastic Surgery – a brief history

Although it has not become common for the majority, the rising popularity of plastic surgery has nonetheless seen it come from the preserve of a very few to the norm for a significant minority. Here we plot its history…


Plastic surgery can be dated as far back as 800BC in India, where the first rhinoplasty operation was documented. Although this surgery continued to be performed in India, as a reconstructive measure for those wounded in battle or by punishment, it was little known in other parts of the world and wasn’’t until the 18th century when British physicians became aware of the technique.

The first aesthetic surgery may have been performed in ancient Rome where a breast reduction operation on a man is recorded in the first century AD.

Modern Usage

It was not until the 18th century that plastic surgery really grew, despite its very early origins in history. The advancement of the usage and techniques were largely a result of wars and so the reasons for it were initially reconstructive.

Each war saw new and improved procedures culminating in quite sophisticated techniques during WWII. Physicians then saw how some of these techniques could be applied for aesthetic reasons, with cosmetic surgery being performed in the US by the 1950s with increased popularity in the 1960s, particularly for breast enhancements (originally the preserve of mastectomy patients).

This use of plastic surgery did not really happen until the 1970s in the UK however. The 1990s saw its popularity rise significantly, both here and in the States, though with the latter taking it up more enthusiastically.

Procedures available had become wide – rhinoplasty, facelifts, liposuction and breast augmentation to name a few. Celebrities were seen to endorse cosmetic surgery and the trend began to drip down in to the mainstream.


This popularity has continued to rise with less taboo ascribed than previously, the result of which is that more people are getting surgery.

There are a variety of operations available to improve the appearance of the body or face, remove irregularities or reverse the signs of ageing. Non-invasive cosmetic procedures have come to the fore too, where people want subtle results.

If you would like more information on cosmetic or plastic surgery procedures, or would like to book a free consultation, contact the team at Aurora Clinics on 01324 578290 or email

Categories:  Body  Face