“I’ve had so much plastic surgery, when I die they will donate my body to Tupperware.” Joan Rivers.
As I was talking to a friend the other day about how we’re aging, she asked if I had ever looked in a hand mirror while bending down. It seems when you do that, gravity has a way of redesigning your face. My friend makes me laugh, but seriously folks, this is the kind of thing old people talk about. Some of us become wrinkled before our time. I started seeing lines appear on my face when I was in my early thirties. Soon those lines turned into crevices and eventually deep cracks that made me look like a road map. Some folks are born with good looks and something happens in their lives to rearrange a nose or cause a scar. We like to look good, especially us women.
Today, plastic surgery is the norm. If you don’t like your nose, you can have it remade. If you want fuller lips, there’s Botox. If you aren’t satisfied with your shape, you can have the fat sucked out or moved to a different location. You can even be re-sculpted. Girls in their teens are now undergoing plastic surgery for noses, lips and body enhancement. It used to be braces that devoured the family budget. So who do we have to thank for all this?
On this day in 1787, Karl Ferdinand von Graefe was born in Warsaw, Poland. He studied medicine at Halle and Leipzig, Germany and served as a surgeon in the Napoleonic Wars and soon became superintendent of military hospitals. He became a pioneer in the field of reconstructive surgery and developed a surgery for restoration of the nose, called rhinoplasty. Using techniques from Italian methods along with older methods from India, he created his own technique. He also pioneered in the areas of cleft palate and eyelid repair.
Not much is know about his childhood, but his own children went on to follow in his footsteps. His son, Albrecht, who devoted his life to ophthalmology and in particular the removal of cataracts. His grandson also gain popularity as a politician. He died at the age of 53. I wonder if he ever experimented on himself.
I’m still living with my wrinkles. I will also die with them. I don’t have any disposable income to change my lot in life, so I’ve grown to accept my wrinkles as a badge of courage and determination. Each line has a story to tell. In the meantime, Happy Birthday to Karl, who started the whole plastic surgery revolution!