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October 20, 2022

Nose Jobs in the 1920s and 1930s

Most people assume that the history of rhinoplasties (nose jobs) began in the middle of the last century among Hollywood starlets who wanted to improve their facial features to get more work. While this was undoubtedly true of rhinoplasties starting around the 1930s, the truth is that the procedure has a much longer history, dating back thousands of years.

In the 18th century, rhinoplasties were often performed on patients in the late stages of syphilis, during which the nose loses its structure. It was no coincidence that in 1794, Sushruta’s “Indian rhinoplasty” technique was finally translated into English in an article in the British publication Gentlemen’s Magazine.

By the 19th century, rhinoplasties were being performed for cosmetic rather than reconstructive purposes. In 1887, Dr. John Orlando Roe performed the first closed rhinoplasty. Two years later, Jacques Joseph, considered by many to be the father of modern rhinoplasty, performed a rhinoplasty on a 28-year-old man who was so embarrassed by his nose’s size that he would not go out in public.

As a result of veterans who sustained injuries in World War I and World War II, there were several advances in cosmetic surgery in general and specifically in rhinoplasty. The use of anesthesia and the ready availability of antibiotics were perhaps two of the most important of these advances. By the 1950s, several Hollywood stars began to undergo rhinoplasty. John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Marilyn Monroe, and Rita Hayworth were among the notable celebrities who had their noses reshaped.

Rhinoplasty has a long, interesting history. It spans from relatively primitive procedures to reconstruct noses lost to injury or illness to modern, high tech surgeries to improve the nose’s shape for strictly aesthetic reasons.























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