Lead: Though the dream of improving on nature’s gifts has persisted over the centuries, the modern practice of reconstructive surgery was given new birth in allied field hospitals in France during World War I.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Religious skepticism about human vanity or health concerns have swirled around surgical attempts to re-shape the body. Cosmetic surgery has caused great controversy from the beginning. As early as 600 BC physicians were trying to alter facial or other body features. The arrival of antiseptics and anesthesia in the nineteenth century increased the safety and success of such efforts, but did little to diminish the debate.