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On the Function, Utility, and Fragility of the Nose

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Early Modern Patients and Their Surgeons

image of Nuncius

This paper presents how rhinoplasty as a surgical technique with a particular social impact developed, and how motivated patients and courageous surgeons contributed to the process before Gaspare Tagliacozzi published his seminal work De curtorum chirurgia in 1597. The few sources that provide evidence of people having their noses reconstructed enable us to understand how this technique gradually spread across Europe from the south of Italy northwards. They also give information about the fate of some individual patients and their surgeons. While patients considered rhinoplasty a painful but worthwhile procedure, liberating them from having to wear a prosthesis, scholars’ and physicians’ opinions on the subject were polarized.

Affiliations: 1: Institute for the History of Medicine, University of Bonn


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