Plastic Surgery


Plastic surgery refers to a variety of medical procedures aimed to alter, restore, or improve the appearance of different body parts.

What is it?

Plastic Surgery is performed to improve the physical appearance of certain features of the body. This specialty is not limited to exact regions of the body and can include enhancements of the appearance and function of the skin, musculoskeletal system, craniomaxillofacial structures, extremities, and breasts, among other areas. Two major forms of plastic surgery include reconstructive plastic surgery and aesthetic plastic surgery. Reconstructive plastic surgery is focused on repairing and improving abnormal structures of the body. These abnormalities can be caused by infection, trauma, congenital and birth defects, developmental abnormalities, and disease. Aesthetic surgery is the branch of plastic surgery that is usually comprised of elective surgeries and procedures that aim to enhance the outward appearance of physical features of the body.

What are the subspecialties? 

Common subspecialties of plastic surgery include congenital plastic surgery, breast surgery, skin surgery, trauma surgery, hand and upper limb surgery, and aesthetic surgery.As mentioned before, plastic surgery can be broken down into two main categories, reconstructive and aesthetic plastic surgery.  Within reconstructive plastic surgery, the common subspecialties are craniofacial surgery, reconstructive microsurgery, laser surgery, and hand surgery. Reconstructive craniofacial plastic surgery seeks to correct head deformities. Reconstructive microsurgery aims at correcting smaller abnormalities that may be harder to tackle because they are so small. Common subspecialties of aesthetic plastic surgery have a broad range due to the different procedures and areas that can be focused on, but aesthetic plastic surgeons have the ability to subspecialize on facial areas, breast surgery, skin surgery, and cosmetic implants.

What are the commonly associated medical diseases or symptoms?

Since plastic surgery is such a widespread field, there are multiple symptoms and diseases that may cause one to seek treatment from a plastic surgeon. Large defects, pressure sores, and large wounds may cause one to seek reconstructive plastic surgery.

What are the commonly associated medical procedures? 

Basic techniques of all plastic surgeons, but mainly reconstructive plastic surgeons, include skin grafting, tissue expansion, and flap surgery. Skin grafting uses skin from another bodily surface, known as a donor site, and transferring it to a part of the area where skin is missing. Tissue expansion is a procedure that allows the skin to regrow on its on by stretching the surrounding tissue. Flap surgery involves the transfer of living skin along with a blood vessel to an affected area that is missing skin. The most common reconstructive plastic surgery procedures include laceration repairs, hand surgery, and scar revision. Breast augmentation, nose reshaping, liposuction, eyelid surgery, and facelifts are among the most common aesthetic plastic surgery procedures.

Are there any preventative measures I can take?

Preventative measures include avoidance of smoking and maintaining a healthy diet help lower risks of complications during plastic surgery procedures.

What are the common misconceptions about this specialty?

There is a common misconception that plastic surgery is performed merely to improve physical appearances and enhanced ill-perceived bodily features. However, plastic surgery is more frequently performed to correct damage resulting from deformities, accidents and other injuries. Many believe that plastic surgery received its “plastic” name from the synthetic materials and implants that are commonly associated with the common procedures. The name “plastic” surgery, however, gets its name from the Greek word plastikos, meaning “to form or mold”, as plastic surgeons have the ability to reconstruct and mold certain features of the body.


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