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Susrata (c. 500 BCE)

Susrata was a Hindu surgeon who practised from about 500 BCE. His encyclopedia, the Susrata Samhita, is one of the classic texts of Ayurvedic medicine. In it he, and perhaps his students and followers, described the many branches of surgical practice. It was translated into Arabic in the 700s CE.

One of the techniques described was rhinoplasty - Indian surgeons had plenty of practice at this technique as it was common for those who had committed crimes to have their noses cut off.

It took a considerable time for Susrata's surgical techniques to reach the English-speaking world. In fact it was not until 1794 that a description of the technique of rhinoplasty or ‘Indian Rhinoplasty’ was described in the Gentleman's Magazine of London. Once revealed, these new techniques were adopted quickly and were very successful. One surgeon was later quoted as saying, ‘plastic surgery in Europe had taken its new flight when these cunning devices of Indian workmen became known to us.’

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C Muthu, A Short Account of the Antiquity of Hindu Medicine (London: Baillière Tinall & Cox, second edition, 1927)