YouTube Screen Shot, Daily Mail
A man in China whose nose was damaged in an accident is growing a replacement nose on his forehead.
Ever since 1890, when the use of anesthetics and antiseptics made it unlikely for people to die getting a nose job, cosmetic plastic surgery has been part of the global culture. By the 1920s, plastic surgery grew ever more common, and became associated with vanity. New techniques developed during World War II helped further increase demand for -- and types of -- the elective surgeries.
The era of minimally-invasive techniques has marked a new generation of plastic surgery options, with 14.6 million cosmetic procedures performed in the United States in 2012, up 5 percent since 2011. Here are the current most popular cosmetic surgeries, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Initially, cosmetic plastic surgery was not seen as a vanity procedure, said Emory University professor Sander Gilman, author of Making the Body Beautiful: A Cultural History of Aesthetic Surgery.
"Jews in Germany had their noses reduced so they could get jobs," Gilman said. As such, it was equally common for men and women to undergo plastic surgery.
"By the end of the 19th century there's a common understanding in the West that you can transform yourself, you can move classes -- and you can get a new nose," Gilman said.
Ear pinbacks were also popular at the time, to correct "prominent ears."
By the 1920s, the world of cosmetic surgery had shifted. By then, the first textbook about facial cosmetic surgery was in circulation, called "The Correction of Featural Imperfections" by Charles Miller. Women sought face lifts for reasons associated with vanity, not employment.
"It becomes something we associate with the upper middle class," Gilman said.
Everything from ivory to rubber has been used to augment breasts since the beginning of the 20th century. Nothing worked well (one of the first experimental substances, paraffin, had particularly bad results, with breasts that grew hard and lumpy and high rates of infection) until the Dow Corning Corporation developed the first silicone breast implants in 1961. Even though breast augmentation dropped 7 percent from 2011, it's still the No. 1. plastic surgery in the U.S., with 286,000 procedures in the U.S. in 2012. (It's followed by nose reshaping, eyelid surgery, liposuction, and facelifts.)
"People who have had significant weight loss are coming to grips with dealing with [their bodies]," said surgeon David Reath, a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. "Whether they've lost weight through weight reduction surgery or diet and exercise, if they were overweight for a long period, the
skin hangs around, and it’s very demoralizing. They're looking for a solution."
One solution appears to be a procedure called an upper arm lift, which involves either liposuction or brachioplasty, a surgery that removes loose skin is removed from the back of the arms.
Plus, "anytime we start talking about arms the image of the buff First Lady comes into mind," Reath said.
"This is up in every age group of men," Reath said. "I think it's because there’s a growing awareness that there is a solution to something that's extra troubling to men of all ages. It can have a tremendous psychological effect on young men going through puberty."
In fact, the number of men having cosmetic procedures in general has increased so dramatically that Gilman thinks it will once again even out to match the rate of women who undergo plastic surgery.
New minimally invasive and cheaper procedures such as Botox and other injectable fillers took off when the economy took a downturn, Reath said.
"You could take less time off from work [to recover]; year after year it has continued to grow," he said.
In fact, the popularity of such procedures is growing so fast that Gilman believes there will come a point in the next 10 years or so where people will wonder why you didn't have a cosmetic procedure if you have sagging skin under your jaw or lines around your eyes.
"It's becoming the standard," he said.
Despite his perhaps bizarre appearance, a man in China who is growing a new nose on his forehead is the beneficiary of a rather common nose reconstruction technique.
The man suffered damage to his nose and an infection after a severe car accident. The infection had eaten away at the cartilage in his nose, making it impossible to for doctors to fix his original one. Instead, the team decided to grow the man an entirely new nose on his forehead, according to the Huffington Post.
But despite its extreme appearance, this method is not that different from plastic surgery techniques used all the time, said Dr. David Cangello, an attending plastic surgeon at Lenox Hill Hospital and Manhattan, Eye Ear and Throat Hospital in New York.
"I would call it a different take on a principles that we commonly use in reconstruction," Cangello said.
The man's doctors placed tissue expanders, which create space to stretch the skin, under the man's forehead, and created the rough shape of a nose, probably using screws and plates. They then harvested cartilage from his ribs to fill in the nose. Once the nose is ready, they will rotate the entire assemblage -- skin, blood vessels, cartilage and all -- and move the new nose to where his current nose sits.
That is only slightly different from current methods of nose reconstruction, Cangello told LiveScience. Though reconstructive surgeons would also put tissue expanders under the forehead skin to stretch the skin enough to cover the new nose, they would place the nose differently.
"We typically take the cartilage from the rib, and we put it right where the nose structure would already be, and we bring the skin flap over it and cover it," Cangello said.
Afterward, the doctors suture together the skin flaps of the forehead, which will usually leave a small scar. (10 Technologies That Will Transform Your Life)
A man in China whose nose was damaged in an accident is growing a replacement nose on his forehead.YouTube Screen Shot, Daily Mail
Key blood vessels
Though it may seem like a patient might prefer to grow a new nose on a different part of the body that could be more inconspicuous, there are good reasons to use forehead skin.
"Skin that comes from another area of the face will most resemble the skin of the nose, as opposed to skin that came from another body part," Cangello said.
The forehead also has blood vessels that nourish the tissue transplant, so the surgeons don't have to disconnect and reconnect those vessels to place the nose in its correct position. If the doctors were to grow the nose on a forearm or a leg, for instance, they would have to undertake a laborious microsurgery to take the blood vessels that feed and drain the transplant.
The man still seems to have a nose that, at least in pictures, looks fairly normal. By contrast, his replacement nose is pretty large.
But the new nose should shrink once it's in place, Cangello added.
It's also possible the researchers needed to replace the man's current nose because he had trouble breathing properly.
"Whenever we perform a reconstruction, there are two things in mind," Cangello said. "It's not just form, but it's also function."
More From LiveScience:
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Body Beautiful: The 5 Strangest Prosthetic Limbs
7 Plastic Surgery Myths Revealed
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