16th Century Book Describes Early Rhinoplasty Surgery

bookA rare book published in 1597 describes the rhinoplasty technique of Gaspare Tagliacozzi, a professor of surgery at the University of Bologna. According to the UK Telegraph, the book was recently purchased by a plastic surgeon at auction for 11,000 British pounds (about 17,000 U.S. dollars).

Inside the book, De Curtorum Chirurgia Per Insitionem, you can read about (in Latin) and view illustrations of the earliest rhinoplasty techniques. The doctor would reconstruct the nose by attaching a tissue flap from the patient’s arm. He also had methods for surgical reconstruction of the ears and lips. Tagliacozzi’s techniques were typically employed for treating war injuries.

A frequently cited quotation of Tagliacozzi:

“We bring back, refashion and restore to wholeness the features that nature gave but chance destroyed, not that they may be an advantage to the living soul, not as a mean artifice but as an alleviation of illness, not as becomes charlatans but as becomes good physicians and followers of the great Hippocrates. For though the original beauty is indeed restored . . . the end for which the physician is working is that the features should fulfill their offices according to nature’s decree.”

If you missed the auction or if you’re one of the losing bidders, here’s some consolation: there are 3 new translated versions of the book (Surgery of Defects by Implantations) available through the online bookseller .


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