Plastic surgery (600 BCE):
Surgery existed in India 2600 years ago. Sushruta is regarded as the Father of Surgery & his team conducted many complicated surgeries like cataract, artificial limbs, cesareans, fractures, urinary stones, plastic surgery and brain surgeries. The ancient surgeon ‘Sushruta’ was the famous surgeon of Kashi (Benares), also known as Varanasi which is the Ancient City and the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world today. Sushruta used to teach and practice medicine around 600 BC.
He was well recognized for his innovative method of rhinoplasty (Plastic surgery), extracapsular lens extraction in cataract (cataract surgery), anal and dental surgeries. The earliest operation for treating lithiasis (formations of stones in body) is also given in the Sushruta Samhita (6th century BCE).
The most authentic compilation of his teachings and work is presently available in a treatise called “Sushruta Samhita”. This contains 184 chapters and description of 1120 illnesses, 700 medicinal plants, 64 preparations from mineral sources and 57 preparations based on animal sources. It has detailed information on Cataract, Artificial Limbs, Cesareans, Fractures, Urinary Stone Surgery, Plastic Surgery and Brain Surgeries.
Greek philosophers and scientists traveled to India where these surgeries were performed by physicians. The removal of cataract by surgery was also introduced into China from India.
The medical works of both Sushruta and Charak were translated into Arabic language during the Abbasid Caliphate (750 CE). These translated Arabic works made their way into Europe via intermediaries.
Cure for Leprosy: Kearns & Nash (2008) state that the first mention of leprosy is described in the Indian medical treatise Sushruta Samhita. However, The Oxford illustrated Companion to Medicine holds that the mention of leprosy, as well as ritualistic cures for it, were described in the Atharva-Veda (1500–1200 BCE), written before the Sushruta Samhita.