Plastic Surgery was Invented during the Civil War

5fish

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Yes, plastic surgery was invented during the American Civil War...

Before the U. S. Civil War, reconstructive plastic surgery, especially of the face, didn't really exist — it had been theorized in the medical journal known asThe Lancet in 1837, and before that, facial reconstruction was limited totaking skin flaps and bone from other parts of the body to form facial features. But with over 10,000 cases of gunshot and cannon shrapnel wounds to the faces of various soldiers during the war, the need for something to at least partially reconstruct facial features was pretty dire. That put it high on the priority list.

Of course, with it being more or less experimental in nature and very much in need of research and testing, it couldn't be deployed for very many of those 10,000; indeed, it was successfully performed on only about 30 former soldiers or officers.

Here is a link to stories about some of those men...

http://www.civilwarmed.org/facial-reconstruction/

Snippet...

“Plastic Surgery:” Today the phrase may bring to mind thoughts of people voluntarily undergoing operations attempting to look eternally young or more attractive. But for wounded soldiers, beginning during the Civil War and continuing through today, plastic surgery has a far deeper resonance.

“Plastic” before the introduction of organic polymers, often referred to an object that could be shaped or sculpted – in this case, a patient’s skin and soft tissue. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term was first used in The Lancet in December of 1837. Army Medical Museum curator George Otis reported only 32 cases of ‘Plastic Operations’ in the first surgical volume of the Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion (MSHWR) in 1870. Of these, “twenty-nine were for deformities following gunshot injuries” while noting there were “nearly ten thousand in number” cases of gunshot injuries of the face during the war. (MSHWR Surg I, p. 379)

Snippet...

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An example of basic surgical care can be seen in Surgical Photograph 32, “Shell wound of the face.” Pvt. William H. Nims, Co. D, 61st New York Volunteers, was wounded on June 17, 1864, at the Battle of Petersburg, Va. Surgeon Thomas Crosby removed bone splinters and stitched his wound together with no attempts at reconstruction. Nims survived, but “In 1867, Pension Examiner G.W. Avery, reported that this pensioner continued to suffer greatly, and that the very unpleasant deformity induced by his wound, made it impracticable for him to obtain employment. Thus his mutilation was a doubly cruel one.” (MSHWR Surg 1, p. 329-330)

Well, there are several other stories and pictures of these soldiers who were some of the first to get plastic surgery...
 

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5fish

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Here is one of the Pioneer doctors... per wiki...

Gurdon Buck (May 4, 1807 – March 6, 1877) was a pioneering military plastic surgeon during the Civil War. He is known for being the first doctor to incorporate pre- and post-operative photographs into his publications. Buck's fascia and Buck's extension are both named after him

Buck graduated from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1830 and interned at New York Hospital. He also studied in Paris, Berlin and Vienna. He was appointed visiting surgeon to the New York Hospital in 1837 which he held the rest of his life. He was also appointed to the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary.

In 1845, Buck took the first clinical photograph and used an engraving of it in "The Knee Joint Anchylosed at a Right Angle." This was the first known published illustration of a medical photograph.[1]

Dr. Buck was a founding fellow of The New York Academy of Medicine in 1847.

He wrote "Contributions to Reparative Surgery" (New York, 1876) which is the first American plastic surgery textbook.
 

5fish

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Here is something to add about Dr. Buck...

The First Photo Documented Facial Reconstruction Patient
Burgan joined the ranks of thousands of Civil War veterans who were left disfigured and seemingly hopeless. But history would shine brightly on Private Burgan; he would not be yet another statistic. He would become the first documented facial reconstruction patient, a true benchmark in medical breakthroughs.

Traumatized and unrecognizable after the surgery to remove his gangrenous tissue, Burgan turned to City Hospital surgeon Dr. Gurdon Buck, now considered the father of facial reconstruction surgery.

Buck was the first to document “before and after” photographs of a reconstruction surgery, and it is through him that we have an idea of the capabilities of surgeons of this era. Because of the doctor’s intervention, Private Burgan, after several surgeries, was able to go on to enjoy a relatively normal life.

In fact, Burgan thrived beyond the war years. He got married, had several children, and lived to be 71 years old. He passed away in the year 1915, just as another quantum leap in facial reconstruction innovation would revolutionize the field of plastic surgery.



Link: https://doctorbinder.com/the-history-of-facial-reconstruction-can-be-traced-back-to-the-civil-war-3/
 

BDK1066

Private
Joined
Nov 22, 2018
Messages
67
Yes, plastic surgery was invented during the American Civil War...

Before the U. S. Civil War, reconstructive plastic surgery, especially of the face, didn't really exist — it had been theorized in the medical journal known asThe Lancet in 1837, and before that, facial reconstruction was limited totaking skin flaps and bone from other parts of the body to form facial features. But with over 10,000 cases of gunshot and cannon shrapnel wounds to the faces of various soldiers during the war, the need for something to at least partially reconstruct facial features was pretty dire. That put it high on the priority list.

Of course, with it being more or less experimental in nature and very much in need of research and testing, it couldn't be deployed for very many of those 10,000; indeed, it was successfully performed on only about 30 former soldiers or officers.

Here is a link to stories about some of those men...

http://www.civilwarmed.org/facial-reconstruction/

Snippet...

“Plastic Surgery:” Today the phrase may bring to mind thoughts of people voluntarily undergoing operations attempting to look eternally young or more attractive. But for wounded soldiers, beginning during the Civil War and continuing through today, plastic surgery has a far deeper resonance.

“Plastic” before the introduction of organic polymers, often referred to an object that could be shaped or sculpted – in this case, a patient’s skin and soft tissue. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term was first used in The Lancet in December of 1837. Army Medical Museum curator George Otis reported only 32 cases of ‘Plastic Operations’ in the first surgical volume of the Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion (MSHWR) in 1870. Of these, “twenty-nine were for deformities following gunshot injuries” while noting there were “nearly ten thousand in number” cases of gunshot injuries of the face during the war. (MSHWR Surg I, p. 379)

Snippet...

View attachment 305448

An example of basic surgical care can be seen in Surgical Photograph 32, “Shell wound of the face.” Pvt. William H. Nims, Co. D, 61st New York Volunteers, was wounded on June 17, 1864, at the Battle of Petersburg, Va. Surgeon Thomas Crosby removed bone splinters and stitched his wound together with no attempts at reconstruction. Nims survived, but “In 1867, Pension Examiner G.W. Avery, reported that this pensioner continued to suffer greatly, and that the very unpleasant deformity induced by his wound, made it impracticable for him to obtain employment. Thus his mutilation was a doubly cruel one.” (MSHWR Surg 1, p. 329-330)

Well, there are several other stories and pictures of these soldiers who were some of the first to get plastic surgery...
The first plastic surgery that I am aware of was performed in Ancient India. Among other things, they were able to "reconstruct" a nose cut off in battle or lost to infection or other medical causes.
There may be earlier cases of plastic surgery, but none that I am aware of.

I was taught that the unbelievably enormous number of disfiguring wounds in WW1 was the true modern origin of plastic surgery.
 

Patrick H

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Another fact I would not have known if I hadn't clicked into our site tonight.
 


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