Sushruta: The Father of Plastic Surgery
An ancient Indian physician, Sushruta was the main author of the treatise called The Compendium of Susruta, known as Susruta Samhita in Sanskrit, which is a compilation of extensive text on medicine and surgery. The most popular and ancient Indian epic text Mahabharata, depicts Sushruta as the son of Vishvamitra, one of the most legendary sages. This aspect also reflects in the present day version of the Susruta Samhita. Kaviraj Kunja Lal Bhrishaghatna also asserts that it is not at all wrong to assume that Sushruta belonged to the clan of Vishvamitra. Sushruta is often regarded as one of the few people known as the ‘Father of Plastic Surgery.’
As on today, the Susruta Samhita is one of the most ancient surviving treatises focussing on medicine and is also regarded as the foundation text for Ayurveda. While its extensive text focuses on all aspects of general medicine, according to G. D. Singhal, who is the translator for the text, the colossal vivid accounts of surgery in the texts are what make Sushruta the ‘father of plastic surgery.’
According to historians, Sushruta lived in India sometime between 1000 and BC, and among all the branches of general medicine that he spoke at length in his text, the most prominent were his teaching of anatomy, therapeutic strategies, and pathophysiology. It is also said that his work and detailing is quite unparalleled given the ancient era he belonged to. One branch of medical science that Sushruta is immensely popular for is the nasal reconstruction, the essence of which can be traced throughout the literature he has penned down in the frame of the Vedic period of Hindu medicine continuing till the era of Tagliacozzi during the Renaissance Italy to current modern-day surgical procedures.
The fundmental highlight of this historic review mainly focuses on Sushruta’s impeccable anatomical and surgical knowledge and also his creation of the cheek flap for the procedure of a nasal reconstruction and also making it transition to the ‘Indian method’ of things. The medical theories and distinct descriptions of surgical procedures depicted in the Susruta Samhita are not just supported by anatomical knowledge but also various creative approaches that stand true, even today.