Tagliacozzi, professor of surgery and anatomy at the University of Bologna,
published De curtorum chirurgia to instruct surgeons on all they needed
to know about reconstructing noses and ears. It is the first published work on
plastic surgery. The work's twenty-two plates depict every step of the process
of rhinoplasty and are among the best-known illustrations in the history of
medicine. Shown here is the patient, immobilized in a vest of Tagliacozzi's
devising, waiting for the skin graft taken from the arm to adhere to the nose.
The process was supposed to take two to three weeks.
De curtorum is the centerpiece of the great library on the history of
plastic surgery assembled by Dr. Jerome P. Webster (1888-1974), professor of
surgery at Columbia and first director of the division of plastic surgery at the
Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. The Webster Library holds seven copies of
the first edition of this work as well as two copies of the extremely rare
pirated version printed in the same year.