The final episode of this documentary series about the brutal, bloody and dangerous history of surgery, looks at how surgery dragged itself kicking and screaming out of the dark ages, transforming itself from butchery into a science.
Syphilis, lost knowledge, an Indian brick maker and a gentleman's magazine, doctors who operated on Jewish noses, and the terrible effects of aeroplane fuel - this is the story of plastic surgery. Plastic surgery is not a modern phenomenon. It started over 400 years ago with a spate of botched nose jobs, so badly engineered that the nose would fall off if the wind blew too hard. It marked the birth of a whole new obsession - surgeons gradually became entranced with the idea that not only could they fix the body, but now they could even fix our sense of self-esteem.
A neo-nazi obsessed with the perfect stitch, organs from prisoners, patients bombarded with radiation, chance discoveries involving bottles of good quality olive oil - this is the story of transplant surgery. At first, transplant surgery seemed a craze, a one-off experiment. But pursuing fame, prestige and worldwide acclaim, surgeons took increasingly extraordinary risks.
This five-part series about the brutal, bloody and dangerous history of surgery continues with a look at the development of heart surgery, which produced some extremely reckless experiments. With a family history of heart problems, presenter Michael Mosley takes a personal interest in these pioneers, who teeter on the scalpel-edge between saviour and executioner. Michael has a go at heart surgery, meets a man with no heartbeat, and witnesses an operation where the patient is cooled until their brain stops and has all of their blood sucked out.
Today, astonishing surgical breakthroughs are making face transplants, limb transplants and a host of other cutting edge operations possible. But getting to this point has been an extraordinary story of courage and mistakes - stolen corpses, crazy remedies, medical fraud, lobotomised patients - and every now and then, brave and extraordinary advances that have saved millions of lives across the world. Presented by the charismatic and medically trained Michael Mosley, this series is a highly energetic and engaging history of surgery.
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