The origins of reconstructive surgery can be traced as far back to India in approximately 800BC where . There are a number of references made in texts relating to the body and repairs from many of the main historical civilisations including the Egyptians and Romans.
The ideas of reconstructing the body using skin flaps and grafting tissues, repairing skull injuries, cleft palates, and nasal reconstruction all originated from pre 20th century thinking. The principles of many of these techniques are evident in modern procedures due to the process of evolution in reconstructive techniques.
However many of these original ideas were not successful during this time due to the lack of advances in other medical treatments: this included no anaesthesia to manage the pain of a patient and put them in a state of unconsciousness to allow for complex and delicate work to be undertaken, and the inability to deal with shock and severe blood loss.
There were no effective means of sterilising all equipment used for surgical procedures, and no form of antibiotics to stop infection developing after wound surgery. Advances in these areas allowed practitioners to fully exploit these ideas and refine them further to reach greater levels of success in wound healing and reconstruction.