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Ann Chir Plast Esthet. 2003 Oct;48(5):257-72.

[Aesthetic surgery and history].

[Article in French]

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Hôpital Américain de Paris, 63, boulevard Victor-Hugo, 92200 Neuilly, France.


The history of aesthetic surgery is linked to that of the 20th century. The first operations allowed by the progress of anesthesia and asepsis are the correction of "prominent ears" by Ely then rhinoplasty with endonasal incision by Roe. Considered by some as a precursor and a quack by others, C.C. Miller was the first surgeon to specialize and write books on the subject. Before world war I, aesthetic surgery was seldom practiced and publications were few. The war was at the origin of several units of maxillo-facial surgery created for the huge number of casualties with face trauma due to trench warfare. Many of those who will become great names in plastic surgery operated in these units: Blair, Davis, Léon Dufourmentel, Virenque, Morestin and Gillies. After the war, American surgeons were regrouped in scientific societies. Plastic surgery was privileged and aesthetic surgery was lifted for "quacks". In France, several surgeons such as Suzanne Noël, Passot, Bourguet, Dartigues showed an important creativity and described several techniques that inspired recent ones. The Dujarier case discredited French aesthetic surgery but did not stop the creation of the first French Society of Plastic Surgery in 1930. World war II led to new orientations. In England, the East Grinstead center with Gillies and McIndoe during and after the war was at the origin of many vocations. After the war, many national and international societies of plastic surgery started to appear. The French Society of Plastic Surgery was born in 1952.

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