Plastic surgery is a general term for surgery which is performed for functional or aesthetic reasons.

The principal areas of plastic surgery include two broad fields.

  • Reconstructive surgery, including microsurgery, which focusses on undoing or masking the destructive effects of trauma, surgery or disease. Such surgery may include closing defects by transplantion of tissue from other parts of the body.
  • Cosmetic (or aesthetic) surgery, which most is often done to change features the patient find unflattering. In a few cases, however, there may be medical reasons (for example, breast reduction when orthopedic problems are present).

Table of contents
1 Reconstructive surgery
2 Cosmetic surgery
3 Related disciplines
4 Addiction to cosmetic surgery
5 External link

Reconstructive surgery

Common cases of reconstructive surgery are breast reconstruction for women who have had a mastectomy, facial- and contracture surgery for burn victims, closing skin- or mucosa defects after removal of tumors in the head and neck region.

There is a definite gray area between plastic and cosmetic surgery. For instance a bat ear correction is not considered cosmetic surgery, however, this is not a debilitating or dangerous condition.

Cosmetic surgery

Many people take a dim view of cosmetic surgery, as they see it as frivolous. It does, at any rate, involve some risk (like any operation) and should therefore not be undertaken lightly. Within the US, critics of plastic surgery have noted that it is legal for any doctor (regardless of speciality) to perform plastic surgery; a practice which, critics argue, leads to poorly performed surgery.

Despite criticism, cosmetic surgery is becoming more popular as less expensive and better techniques are being developed. There are numerous types of cosmetic surgery that can be performed. The most prevelant are listed below. Most of these types of surgery are more commonly known by their "common names." These are also listed when pertinent.

  • Abdominoplasty (or "tummy tuck"): reshaping and firming of the abdomen
  • Blepharoplasty (or "eyelid surgery"): Reshaping of the eyelids and the application of permenant eyeliner
  • Augmentation Mammaplasty (or "breast enlargement"): Augmentation of the breasts
  • Chemical peel: Removal of acne scars and sagging skin—not technically surgery and can be performed by a cosmetologist
  • Mastopexy (or "breast lift"): Raising of sagging breasts
  • Rhinoplasty: Reshaping of the nose
  • Rhytidectomy (or "face lift"): Removal of wrinkles and signs of aging from the face
  • Suction-Assisted Lipectomy (or liposuction): Removal of fat from the body

Related disciplines

  • Hand surgery is not strictly a field of plastic surgery, as it is also performed by many orthopedic surgeons. However, many hand operations (such as reconstruction of injuries, replantations, rheumatoid surgery and surgery of congenital defects) are performed by plastic surgeons.
  • Maxillofacial surgery (surgery involving the jaw) is not usually considered a field of plastic surgery, although there is significant overlap of techniques and operations.

Addiction to cosmetic surgery

Some people appear to become addicted to cosmetic surgery, possibly because of body dysmorphic disorder. Sufficient amounts of repeated cosmetic surgery can lead to irreversible damage to the normal body structure. However, due to the high cost of repeated cosmetic surgery, this disorder is generally one limited to the wealthy.

See also: body modification

External link