Plastic Surgery in Ancient Rome

- Private group -
August 11, 2014

Ancient Rome had a culture that praised the beauty of the naked human form in both art and poetry.  So, unsurprisingly by the first century B.C. the Romans were practicing advanced plastic surgery techniques.


Ancient Romans are believed to have viewed any abnormality, particularly when involving genitalia, with suspicion or even amusement.  As a result one of the most popular plastic surgery techniques during the time was circumcision removal.  This procedure is described in De re medicina, a text by Cornelius Celsus, along with an account of a “breast reduction.”


Roman surgeons were also known for removing scars particularly those on the back, which were marks of shame suggesting that the man had turned his back in battle or been whipped like a slave.


Surgeons would often operate on gladiators who had noses and ears removed in battle and foreigners who desired a more “Roman” appearance, allowing them to better fit into Roman society.


Today, similar surgeries are performed to enhance one’s appearance and improve self-confidence.  Breast reductions are performed mostly on women, but as in ancient Rome, they can also be done on men in a procedure called Gynecomastia.  Scar revisions are also common to improve the appearance of scars old and new.


Please call our office at your convenience to set up an appointment for a consultation, 302-645-7737.



Patrick Swier, MD is a board-certified and Johns Hopkins trained plastic surgeon.  He specializes in plastic surgery, reconstructive surgery and peripheral nerve surgery.


The Swier Clinic has two locations for your convenience and privacy:


The Swier Clinic, Sussex County

1400 Savannah Road

Lewes, Delaware 19958



The Swier Clinic, New Castle County

2600 Glasgow Avenue | Suite 102

Newark, Delaware 19702-4777