The 16th century was a dangerous moment in history for the nose and ears, and even for the lips.
All knights carried swords, and although it was not always legal, they often resolved their differences with a duel … and those body parts often suffered in defense of honor.
Eccentric Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, for example, wore a prosthetic nose made of copper in the place of which he lost when he was 20 years old in a duel against another Danish nobleman over a disagreement in mathematics.
Fortunately, by the end of that century, the art of surgery had developed to the point that it was able to supply artificial, but living, noses, ears, and lips to gentlemen, particularly those passing through northern Italy.
It was there where Gaspare Tagliacozzi, the professor at the University of Bologna, one of the great medical centers of the time, worked.
Tagliacozzi (1545-1599) published a book in 1597 under the title: ” U a new surgery in art, so far Unknown or all, to repair the lack of noses, ears, and lips, by skin graft arm “
There the childhood of plastic surgery was captured.
The face, reflection of the soul
It was the first and, for connoisseurs, perhaps one of the best books dedicated exclusively to plastic surgery.
He wrote it under the impulse of the Renaissance – which emerged from Italy in the fourteenth century and reached its peak during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries – which marked a transition in civilization, and in medicine established the basis of modern anatomical studies.
Previously, methods of repairing the damaged nose in duels or other forms of combat were kept secret in the families of “barber-surgeons”, who treated facial defects or injuries, something crucial in an age when disfigurements were believed to be on the face they reflected the disfigurements of the soul.
And, although other writers had discussed aspects of plastic surgery operations, Tagliacozzi was the first to establish its scientific validity and improve techniques in light of advances in medical knowledge at the time.
In addition to rhinoplasty, he detailed reconstructive lip and ear surgery procedures.
Tagliacozzi’s skill was famous throughout Europe, and his treatise, summarizing his life’s work, details the theory behind the procedure, describes the instrumentation and progressive steps for the operation, as well as the post-operative dressing and care.