Definition: Defining the Meaning of Plastic Surgery
Plastic surgery is defined as a medical specialty concerned with the "correction" or restoration of form and function. Though cosmetic or aesthetic surgery is the best-known kind of plastic surgery, plastic surgery is not necessarily cosmetic; and includes many types of reconstructive surgery, Craniofacial surgery, hand surgery, microsurgery, and the treatment of burns.
Plastic surgery is a medical specialty concerned with the correction or restoration of form and function. While famous for aesthetic surgery, plastic surgery also includes many types of reconstructive surgery, hand surgery, microsurgery, and the treatment of burns.
In plastic surgery, the transfer of skin tissue (skin grafting) is a very common procedure.
Skin grafts can be taken from the recipient or donors:
- Allografts are taken from a donor of the same species.
- Xenografts are taken from a donor of a different species.
- Autografts are taken from the recipient. If absent or deficient of natural tissue, alternatives can be cultured sheets of epithelial cells in vitro or synthetic compounds, such as integra, which consists of silicone and bovine tendon collagen with glycosaminoglycans.
Usually, good results are expected from plastic surgery that emphasizes careful planning of incisions so that they fall in the line of natural skin folds or lines, appropriate choice of wound closure, use of best available suture materials, and early removal of exposed sutures so that the wound is held closed by buried sutures.
Reconstructive plastic surgery is performed to correct functional impairments caused by burns; traumatic injuries, such as facial bone fractures and breaks; congenital abnormalities, such as cleft palates or cleft lips; developmental abnormalities; infection and disease; and cancer or tumors. Reconstructive plastic surgery is usually performed to improve function, but it may be done to approximate a normal appearance.
The most common reconstructive procedures are tumor removal, laceration repair, scar repair, hand surgery, and breast reduction. Some other common reconstructive surgical procedures include breast reconstruction after a mastectomy, cleft lip and palate surgery, contracture surgery for burn survivors, and creating a new outer ear when one is congenitally absent.
Aesthetic plastic surgery involves techniques intended for the "enhancement" of appearance through surgical and medical techniques, and is specifically concerned with maintaining normal appearance, restoring it, or enhancing it beyond the average level toward some aesthetic ideal.
On average, 30% of all patients seeking regenerative procedures such as eye lifts and face lifts are men. In addition, data from the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery states that male plastic surgery has increased 121% over the past 10 years.
The most common cosmetic surgeries are breast augmentation, liposuction, nasal surgery, eyelid surgery and abdominoplasty.
Other Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery Procedures Include:
- Abdominoplasty - tummy tuck
- Blepharoplasty - eyelid surgery
- Breast augmentations - breast implant or "boob job"
- Reduction mammoplasty - breast reduction
- Mastopexy - breast lift
- Buttock augmentation - butt implant
- Buttock lift: lifting, and tightening of the buttocks
- Chemical peel: minimizing the appearance of acne, chicken pox, and other scars as well as wrinkles
- Labiaplasty: surgical reduction and reshaping of the labia
- Lip enhancement: surgical improvement of lips' fullness through enlargement
- Rhinoplasty - nose job
- Otoplasty - ear surgery and ear pinning
- Rhytidectomy - face lift - removal of wrinkles and signs of aging from the face
- Browplasty - brow lift or "forehead lift"
- Midface lift - cheek lift - tightening of the cheeks
- Suction-assisted lipectomy - liposuction - removal of fat from the body
- Chin augmentation - chin implant augmentation of the chin with an implant
- Cheek augmentation - cheek implant
- Orthognathic Surgery: manipulation of the facial bones through controlled fracturing
- Fillers injections: collagen, fat, and other tissue filler injections, such as hyaluronic acid
- Laser skin resurfacing
Craniofacial surgery is divided into pediatric and adult craniofacial surgery. Pediatric craniofacial surgery mostly revolves around the treatment of congenital anomalies of the craniofacial skeleton and soft tissues, such as cleft lip and palate, craniosynostosis, and pediatric fractures. Adult craniofacial surgery deals mostly with fractures and secondary surgeries (such as orbital reconstruction) along with orthognathic surgery.
Plastic Surgeon Qualifications:
After medical school, all surgeons must go through years of hands-on training, residency programs, and specialty training. Licenses represent a bare minimum of qualifications. They are state-issued, but are not specialty-specific; they merely allow an individual to provide a public medical service. So while a diploma and license are required, they do not prove that you have found a board certified plastic surgery source.
A term used frequently, but which professional societies determine their qualifications. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), for example, requires a proven level of competence, such as 6 years of training and surgical experience, as well as 3 years of plastic surgery experience. They also have ethical and professional standards.
Membership in another respected organization, the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS)
Means a plastic surgeon is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), participates in accredited Continuing Medical Education programs, and has demonstrated at least 2 years of aesthetic surgery experience. Members must adhere to a Code of Ethics and operate in an accredited facility.
Look for ABPS board certified plastic surgeons who are members of ASPS - or better, of ASAPSWhile these certifications do not guarantee a surgeon can deliver the results you desire, they do represent proof of a basic skill set. Choose a plastic surgeon based on artistic aesthetic and personality. Don't be afraid to ask questions and probe; get to know your plastic surgeon.
Quick Facts: Interesting Plastic Surgery
- The father of modern plastic surgery is generally considered to have been Sir Harold Gillies. A New Zealand otolaryngologist working in London.
- The most common reconstructive procedures are tumor removal, laceration repair, scar repair, hand surgery, and breast reduction plasty.
- Treatments for the plastic repair of a broken nose are first mentioned in the Edwin Smith Papyrus, a transcription of an Ancient Egyptian medical text, dated to the Old Kingdom from 3000 to 2500 BC.
- Researchers believe that plastic surgery obsession is linked to psychological disorders
- Reconstructive plastic surgery is performed to correct functional impairments caused by burns; traumatic injuries, such as facial bone fractures and breaks; congenital abnormalities, such as cleft palates or cleft lips; developmental abnormalities; infection and disease; and cancer or tumors.
- Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a disorder resulting in the sufferer becoming preoccupied with what they regard as defects in their bodies or faces.
Statistics: U.S. Cosmetic Surgery
- Cosmetic surgical procedures increased almost 9 percent, with over 1.6 million procedures in 2010.
- Rhinoplasty remains the most requested surgical procedure for both sexes for the fifth consecutive year.
- 15.6 million cosmetic procedures, including both minimally-invasive and surgical, were performed in the United States in 2014, an increase of 3 percent since 2013.
- In 2014, facelifts, brow-lifts, and blepharoplasty were most performed on adults over the age of 55.
- Women continue to be the driving force for facial plastic surgery and make up 82 percent of all surgical and non-surgical procedures performed in 2014.
- Americans spent nearly $10.7 billion on cosmetic procedures in 2010. Of that total almost $6.6 billion was spent on surgical procedures; $1.9 billion was spent on injectable procedures; $1.8 billion was spent on skin rejuvenation procedures; and almost $500 million was spent on other nonsurgical procedures including laser hair removal and laser treatment of leg veins.