Quick: if I say “plastic surgery,” what procedures do you think of first? For me, it’s breast implants and liposuction and Botox. Then I wonder if Botox is really “surgery.” Then I start wondering who gets calf implants.
With all of the wonderful and scary surgeries available today, I almost forget about nose jobs, which is silly, since that’s the first type of plastic surgery I learned about. “Rhinoplasty” is one of the first fancy words I learned to use in order to show off (hey, a fifth grader has to start somewhere). I attribute this all to Clueless and its mockery of nose jobs.
And of course, growing up to the accompaniment of Michael Jackson’s ever-shrinking nose had a big role in shaping (pun!) my perception of plastic surgery. Oh, Michael – the smaller it got, the more I grew up.
But don’t look down on the humble rhinoplasty. Not only does it still serve as the gateway drug to a lifetime of fixing yourself up all pretty, but it seems to have been the very first cosmetic surgery.
Sushrutha was a surgeon and writer who lived around 600 B.C. in Benares, India. He described history’s oldest-known rhinoplasties in a Sanskrit treatise called “Sushrutha Samhita” which contains riveting materials such as descriptions of 700 medicinal plants as well as his instructions for a nose job.