photo A Plastic Story
A Short History of Plastic Surgery
By Antoine Hurtado Huyssen

A Plastic Story is the remarkable history of the surprising origins and development of this now common medical field of plastic surgery.

The very first descriptions of skin grafts date back to India circa 800 B.C., where they served to obstruct the facial hole resulting from nose amputations.

During the Renaissance, Ambroise Paré developed the art of suture, leaving records in which he describes both the instruments and the technique employed.

In the 19th century, new methods for operating were developed, ending earlier rudimentary and painful procedures. However, at that time the Catholic Church was strongly opposed to the advancement of science in general, and specifically opposed remodeling the human form.

But in the 20th century, when Europe was confronted with the seriously mutilated faces of soldiers returning from the fronts of WWI, the imperative to repair them grew, and plastic surgery finally gained a respectable place in the medical profession.

The turning point occurred between the wars with the development of private clinics and doctor's offices. It was also during this period that the world witnessed some striking failures in the field of plastic surgery. A few cases resulted in lawsuits, which motivated young practitioners to create professional societies, draft the first legal documents, and develop a responsible structure for the field of plastic surgery.

Through archival documents, drawings and photographs, and incorporating interviews with experts in history and medicine, A Plastic Story reveals the international origins of plastic surgery.

52 minutes
© 2003
Purchase $298 DVD
Order No. QA-526

"Highly Recommended! With its mix of beautiful images of landmark books in the field of plastic surgery, photographs, illustrations, and film clips, A Plastic Story does a very fine job of tracing the development of plastic surgery from around 800 B.C. to the present. Highly recommended for academic health sciences libraries, particularly those with history of medicine collections."—Educational Media Reviews Online

"Well-produced [with] commentary by numerous renowned plastic surgeons, who provide insight into the chronological narrative of milestones and achievements in the specialty. [The film] offers a good overview and can be enjoyed both by the general public and health care professionals to better understand the development of this specialty."—Journal of the American Medical Association

Related Films
PicturePerfect: We are barraged by media images that unrealistically glamorize and sexualize women and girls. This lively and engaging film explores the impact these messages have on young women's physical, psychological and emotional health, and offers tools to begin dissecting the media that influence our behaviors, attitudes, and values.

Shredded: This provocative documentary explores the damaging lengths to which teenage boys may go to achieve the muscular, "shredded," look of action-movie stars and comic book superheroes. "If this screws me up, it screws me up," says one. "I want to get big quick."

Cut: In this short documentary, six boys discuss their bodies, and the pressures and expectations they feel are placed on them by their peers and by society.

Let's Face It: A touching and intimate glimpse into the self-explorations of several women in their 40's, 50's, and 60's. As they face the natural reality of aging, they reflect on the impact that physical changes have not only on their bodies, but also on their attitudes about themselves, and on the way they are perceived by society.


Related Films

Web Resources