Monday, December 27, 2010
Imagine--physicians successfully performed nose jobs (or rhinoplasties, as they are properly called) in the sixteenth century! The procedure is described in a book written by the Bolognese surgeon Gaspare Tagliacozzi, published in 1597 and recently sold to a modern plastic surgeon for quite a hefty sum (article here). A professor of anatomy and surgery at the University of Bologna, Tagliacozzi devised ways to repair the noses, ears, and lips of men wounded in battle. The rhinoplasty involved attaching a flap of skin from the patient's bicep to the injured nose, then shaping the skin after it had properly attached itself to its new location. The poor man had to lie in bed with his arm attached to his head for three weeks! A better fate than going noseless, I suppose. I wonder what the good doctor's success rate was. It's amazing to me that such procedures could be conducted without antiseptics and antibiotics, not to mention anesthetics.