Dr.K.O.Paulose FRCS DLO, Consultant ENT Surgeon
Jubilee Hospital, Trivandrum, Kerala,India.
Tribute to Sushrutha, the great Indian surgeon
Sushrutha, one of the earliest surgeons of the recorded history (600 B.C.) is believed to be the first individual to describe plastic surgery. Sushruta who lived nearly 150 years before Hippocrates vividly described the basic principles of plastic surgery in his famous ancient treatise ‘Sushruta Samhita’ 1,2 in 600 B.C. ‘Sushruta Samhita'(Sushruta compendium) which is one of the oldest treatise dealing with surgery in the world indicates that he was probably the first surgeon to perform plastic surgical operations. This paper presents a historical window into various contributions of Sushruta to plastic surgery and allied fields which were described in ‘Sushruta Samhita’ more than 2500 millennia ago.
The â€˜Sushruta Samhita’ contains the major surgical text of the Vedas and is considered to be the most advanced compilation of surgical practices of its time. â€˜Sushruta Samhita’ encomprises not only the teaching regarding the plastic surgery but contains composite teachings of the surgery and all the allied branches including midwifery and making it a comprehensive treatise on the entire medical discipline.
The exact period of Sushruta is unclear but most scholars put him between 600 to 1000 BC.Sushruta lived, taught and practiced his art in the area that corresponds presently to the city of Varanasi (Kashi, Benares) in northern part of India. Varanasi, on the banks of the Ganges is one of the holiest places in India and is also the home of Buddhism and Ayurveda, one of the oldest medical disciplines. The followers of Sushruta were called as Saushruthas. The new student was expected to study for at least 6 years.
One of the great highlight of Sushruta’s surgery was the operation of Rhinoplasty. The making of a new nose captured the imagination of the medical world and brought him fame as the originator of plastic surgery. Even today pedicle forehead flap is referred to as the Indian flap.
As an ENT and Plastic surgeon I salute him.