Home Variety Culture and History Columbia University recognizes Sushruta's contribution to Cosmetic and Reconstructive Surgery

Columbia University recognizes Sushruta’s contribution to Cosmetic and Reconstructive Surgery

In India, Hindus have always known that the "Father of Surgery" is Sushruta, an ancient Hindu physician who performed cosmetic and reconstructive surgery thousands of years ago. Now, it appears, the knowledge appears to be becoming mainstream in the academia.

In India, Hindus have always known that the “Father of Surgery” is Sushruta, an ancient Hindu physician who performed cosmetic and reconstructive surgery thousands of years ago. Now, it appears, the knowledge appears to be becoming mainstream in the academia.

In its History of Medicine series, the Columbia University Irving Medicine Center confirmed that the roots of modern cosmetic surgery go back over 2500 years.

The article says, “During the 6th Century BCE, an Indian physician named Sushruta – widely regarded in India as the ‘father of surgery’ – wrote one of the world’s earliest works on medicine and surgery. The Sushruta Samhita documented the aetiology of more than 1,100 diseases, the use of hundreds of medicinal plants, and instructions for performing scores of surgical procedures – including three types of skin grafts and reconstruction of the nose.”

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The article also states that the Sushruta Samhita provides the first written record of a forehead flap rhinoplasty, a technique where a full-thickness piece of skin from the forehead is used to reconstruct a nose. The article says of the treatise, “The Sushruta Samhita documented the aetiology of more than 1,100 diseases, the use of hundreds of medicinal plants, and instructions for performing scores of surgical procedures – including three types of skin grafts and reconstruction of the nose.”

Interestingly, the Mahabharata lists Sushruta as a son of Vishwamitra. And the name also features later in the Bower Manuscript where the legendary physician is listed as one of the ten sages in the Himalayas. The Bower Manuscript is a birch bark document dated between the 4th to 6th century.

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