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The plastic surgery story.

Lombard, Louise.

About this work


As the amount of people opting to have cosmetic surgery increases each year, this programme looks back at the origins of plastic (reconstructive) surgery, tracing its lineage from 600BC India, through the Renaissance, World Wars 1 and 2. Particular attention is paid to the pioneering work of Harold Gillies, a surgeon at Queen Mary's Hospital in Kent who treated young men with severe facial injuries during World War 1. We see archive footage of him performing an operation. He eventually treated 5000 patients and became known as the 'father of plastic surgery' with many of his techniques still used today. The programme also looks at quack surgeons who used the new possibilities of facial reconstruction to make money, such as Dr. J. Howard Crum. In Germany at the same time as Gillies was treating English soldiers, Dr. Jack Joseph was treating young German men returning from war. Joseph was Jewish and later went on to perform nasoplasty on numerous Jewish people hoping to escape Nazi brutality - many of the instruments he devised are still in use today. Following World War 2, Gillies techniques improved and he treated thousands of soldiers with facial injuries, among them Jack Allaway one of the founders of the Guinea Pig Club. We then go on to see how in the mid 20th century plastic surgery as a cosmetic choice becomes increasingly popular, particularly breast augmentation and liposuction. The programme ends with a discussion of what the future of plastic surgery might be likely to be given the popularity of treatments such as botox injections.


[Place of publication not identified] : Channel 5, 2003.

Physical description

1 video cassette (VHS) (60 min.) : sound, color, PAL

Copyright note

Channel 5

Creator/production credits

Produced and directed by Cat Lewis



  • English

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