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Surgery 20 Years Ago vs. Surgery Now


Many people may not know this, but plastic surgery is one of the world’s oldest art forms that still exists today. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, some of the earliest physicians in India utilized skin grafts for reconstructive work as early as 800 B.C. However, it wasn’t until the turn of the 20th century that plastic surgery saw its greatest leaps and bounds, both scientifically and aesthetically.

It’s obvious that over the years plastic surgery has been nearly perfected in many ways. Within the last 20 years the world of plastic surgery has seen a great deal of progression in the areas of technology, medicine, and the overall method of performing surgical treatments.

The Average Patient 20 Years Ago

A couple decades ago, plastic surgery was fairly prevalent in the United States. However, it was seen as a more feminine form of surgery, and therefore more women received it than men. Plastic surgery procedures were also viewed more as “needs” for corrective or life-saving treatments rather than “wants” for enhancing a person’s appearance at their own expense.

The Average Patient Now

Plastic surgery has become one of the most popular forms of surgery not just in the U.S. but around the world. With procedures ranging from breast augmentations to facelifts and liposuction, there is seemingly something for everyone. Now plastic surgery is no longer viewed as just treatment for women; men have shown an increasing interest in having their own improvements done. Plastic surgery now is viewed as a way to make a person’s appearance more attractive and youthful rather than just correcting flaws and noticeable imperfections.

Recovery 20 Years Ago

Years ago, patients often experienced an extended period of downtime after a plastic surgery procedure. For invasive surgical procedures, patients would expect weeks, if not months, of downtime in their foreseeable future. This lengthy amount of recovery time discouraged some patients from ever undergoing a plastic surgery procedure, forcing them to go through life unsatisfied.

Recovery Now

Due to advancements in many plastic surgery procedures and the new recovery methods that have developed, patients can expect to heal at a much faster rate than before. Procedures that previously required downtime of months have now been reduced to weeks, and procedures that took weeks to recover from can now be limited to days.

Medicine 20 Years Ago

When plastic surgery was performed years ago medicine was safe, but there were only certain medications that surgeons were permitted to use on patients. In a number of cases, new forms of medication did not exist yet. Other medications had not been deemed safe for surgical procedures.

Medicine Now

With the improvement of sterilized surgical atmospheres and more effective anesthetics, patients can now feel safer than ever before. Improved measures in antibiotics and prescription medications allow patients to have a shorter and less painful recovery.

Scar Prevention 20 years Ago

Scarring has always been a major concern for people who have thought about getting plastic surgery. In previous years, some procedures left plastic surgeons no choice but to leave unsightly scars on patients.

Scar Prevention Now

As new techniques have been developed, scarring after surgery has become more nominal. By making scarring less conspicuous, better-looking results are achieved, which has resulted in plastic surgery becoming more appealing to individuals. The use of silicone tape postoperatively has also greatly decreased the likelihood that scars will be apparent for a long period of time.

Every year improvements in technology, methods of practice, and medical knowledge allow plastic surgery to expand. These factors allow surgeons to provide patients with safe and effective ways to improve or correct various parts of the patients’ bodies in ways they never thought possible.

In order to ensure that you are getting the best performance and outcome possible, be sure to select a board certified plastic surgeon that is licensed by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). This proves that your plastic surgeon has the knowledge and experience necessary to carry out the procedure that you desire.

For all of your plastic surgery needs, please feel free to contact our San Francisco plastic surgeon, Dr. Kimberly Henry, by calling (415) 924-1313. She is board certified by the ABPS and is dedicated to providing each of her patients the most beneficial results possible.

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Dr. Henry is dedicated to helping her clients feel gorgeous, sexy, and confident

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