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Father of Surgery: Was Sushruta the First Plastic Surgeon in 600 B.C.?

One of the highlights of Sushruta's surgery is the operation of Rhinoplasty or the making of a new nose

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Sushruta. Image source: surgicaltreatmentsinayurveda.blogspot.com
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  • ‘Sushruta Samhita’ which translates to Sushruta’s compendium describes the ancient tradition of surgery in Indian medicine
  • It not only contains the teaching regarding plastic surgery but also the composite teachings of the surgery and all the allied branches including midwifery
  • One of the highlights of Sushruta’s surgery is the operation of Rhinoplasty or the making of a new nose

The restoration, reconstruction, and alteration of the human body is not something that has popped up in the recent years. Cosmetic or aesthetic surgery, reconstructive surgery and the treatment of burns has its roots more than 4000-year-old in India, back to the Indus River Civilization . It is believed that plastic surgery originated in the Vedic period (5000 years B.C) and Sushruta Samhita, which is a part of Atharvaveda (one of the four Vedas) is believed to be the first surgical text.

‘Sushruta Samhita’ which translates to Sushruta’s compendium describes the ancient tradition of surgery in Indian medicine. This treatise contains detailed descriptions of teachings and practice of the great ancient surgeon Sushruta, mentioned ispub.com Website.

Considered  to be the most advanced compilation of surgical practices of its time, ‘Sushruta Samhita’ not only contains the teaching regarding plastic surgery but also the composite teachings of the surgery and all the allied branches including ‘midwifery’. Giving priority to the knowledge of both surgery and medicine, he compares a doctor not proficient in both of them to a bird with only one wing.

Sushruta said, “Anyone, who wishes to acquire a thorough knowledge of anatomy, must prepare a dead body and carefully observe and examine all its parts.” Accordingly, a body is to be submerged in water and allowed to decompose. Every stage of decomposition is meant to be studied carefully and examined, layer by layer. It is to be noted that during those times, dissection was performed without using instruments.

Sushruta Samhita. Image source: www.ancient-origins.net
Representational Image. Image source: www.ancient-origins.net

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‘Sushruta Samhita’ was first published in Europe by Hessler in Latin and by Muller in German, in the early 19th century. The first complete English translation was done by Kaviraj Kunja Lal Bhishagratna in three volumes in 1907 at Calcutta.

The Internet Scientific Publications Website mentioned that in the book ‘Sushruta Samhita’, the insight, accuracy, and detail of the surgical descriptions are most impressive. All the 184 chapters and the 1,120 conditions listed in them, include various medical explanations and treatment procedures ranging from injuries and illnesses relating to ageing and mental illness. The compendium of Sushruta includes many chapters on the training and practice of surgeons. The Sushruta Samhita also describes over 120 surgical instruments.

The ancient surgical science was known as Salya-tantra (surgical science) embraces all processes aiming at the removal of factors responsible for producing pain or misery to the body or mind. Salya (salya-surgical instrument) denotes broken parts of an arrow /other sharp weapons while tantra denotes maneuver. Sushruta has described surgery under eight heads Chedya (excision), Lekhya (scarification), Vedhya (puncturing), Esya (exploration), Ahrya (extraction), Vsraya (evacuation) and Sivya (Suturing).

Shushruta Statue, Haridwar Image Source: Wikipedia Commons
Shushruta Statue, Haridwar Image Source: Wikipedia Commons

One of the highlights of Sushruta’s surgery is the operation of Rhinoplasty or the making of a new nose. This grabbed the attention of the medical world and brought him fame as the originator of plastic surgery. The Indian Rhinoplasty today, is just a modification of the ancient Rhinoplasty described by Sushruta in 600 B.C. Even today pedicled forehead flap is referred to as the Indian flap.

Talking about Sushruta, the eminent surgeon Allen Oldfather Whipple (1881-1963), 20th century’s major innovator in pancreatic surgery said,  “All in all, Susruta must be considered the greatest surgeon of the pre-medieval period.”

The marvels and brilliance of Sushruta is recognised by many people across the globe. His texts are reefed even today by many great minds. He is regarded as the ‘Father of Indian Surgery’ and the ‘Father of Indian Plastic Surgery’ because of his numerous seminal contributions to the science and art of surgery in India.

– prepared by NewsGram team.

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  • Akanksha Sharma

    So many discoveries were made in ancient India. In science and mathematics India has contributed a lot.

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Videos on Plastic Surgery Found on YouTube Can be Misleading, Study Reveals

YouTube is for marketing. The majority of the people who post these videos are trying to sell you something

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YouTube videos on plastic surgery can be misleading: Study. Pixabay

Do you turn to YouTube for advice on cosmetic surgery procedures? Beware, most of these are misleading marketing campaigns posted by non-qualified medical professionals, researchers have warned.

Researchers at the Rutgers University found that the millions of people who turn to YouTube as a source for education on facial plastic surgery receive a false understanding that does not include the risks of alternative options.

“Videos on facial plastic surgery may be mainly marketing campaigns and may not fully be intended as educational,” said lead author Boris Paskhover, Assistant Professor at the varsity.

For the study, the team evaluated 240 top-viewed videos with 160 million combined views that resulted from keyword searches for ‘blepharoplasty’, ‘eyelid surgery’, ‘dermal fillers’, ‘facial fillers’, ‘otoplasty’, ‘ear surgery’, ‘rhytidectomy’, ‘facelift’, ‘lip augmentation’, ‘lip fillers’, “rhinoplasty’ and/or ‘nose job’.

The researchers also evaluated the people who posted the videos, including whether they were health care professionals, patients or third parties.

YouTube
Even videos posted by legitimate board-certified surgeons may be marketing tools made to look like educational videos. Pixabay

A majority of videos did not include professionals qualified in the procedures portrayed, including 94 videos with no medical professional at all.

Even videos posted by legitimate board-certified surgeons may be marketing tools made to look like educational videos, Paskhover noted.

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“Patients and physicians who use YouTube for educational purposes should be aware that these videos can present biased information, be unbalanced when evaluating risks versus benefits and be unclear about the qualifications of the practitioner,” he said.

“YouTube is for marketing. The majority of the people who post these videos are trying to sell you something,” he stated. (IANS)