FATHER OF SURGERY: SUSHRUTA

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Sushruta, well known and the first plastic surgeon in the world. He performed the first plastic surgery in 600BC when there is no sufficient equipment, anesthesia. His surgery procedures are being used even today by many plastic surgeons. He gathered all the plastic surgery techniques in a Sanskrit text called “Sushruta Samhita”. Even today you can find his nose surgery procedure scientifically known as “Rhinoplasty” in 7th standard textbooks in the state syllabus. Here we are going to discuss the same but with a few important points which haven’t been mentioned in the book.

The father of Surgery Sushruta wrote about 1,100 surgeries and the medicinal plants he used in the book Sushruta Samhita. Cataract surgery, the removal of bladder stones, hernia repair, eye surgery, and Cesarean sections were also mentioned in the book. As anesthesia was not invented in those days the patient was given wine before surgery in the required quantity so that the patient would not feel the pain throughout the surgery.

In the Rhinoplasty procedure written by Sushruta, he mentioned that a patient came to him whose nose was cut and just the nostrils were open. The procedure is done like this “First the patient is given the required quantity of wine until he feels unconscious. Then the length of his empty portion of the nose is measured with a leaf. A flap of skin from the forehead the same as the size of the nose is dissected. The nostril’s holes are closed but still allowed to breathe. Then the dissected flap is now placed in the position of the nose. The flap of skin is now molded into the exact shape and then stitched with the support of cheeks. The skin thus properly adjusted, it should then be sprinkled with a powder of licorice, red sandal-wood, and barberry plant. Finally, it should be covered with cotton, and clean sesame oil should be constantly applied.


Credit: Wellcome Library, London. 

For five or six days after the operation, the patient is made to lie on his back, and on the tenth day, bits of soft cloth is put into the nostrils to keep them sufficiently open. Further procedures can be followed if the nose is not in the required shape. This procedure is always successful even today. The above procedure written by Sushruta shows how ancient Indian medicine was so well performed. This is the reason why even today many countries use these procedures written in Sushruta Samhita.

Australian Medical Science Institute installed a very huge statue of Maharshi Sushruta in front of their Surgery department building. This was the tribute they paid for ancient Indian surgeon. This article is an attempt to laud the Ancient Indian Surgery procedures and Ayurvedic medicine.

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