What is Plastic Surgery?

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plastic surgery portrait
plastic surgery portrait

The word plastic does not necessarily means that the person who undergoes a plastic surgery ends up having a plastic transformation to any part of the body it was subjected to in the first place. The word has actually been taken from Greek Word “Plastikos” which means to mold or form. Thus, plastic surgery is performed with the aim to improve the appearance and functionality of a person.

Types of Plastic Surgery

Plastic Surgery can be sub categorized into reconstructive and cosmetic surgery. Though, these two branches are two separate entities, but they can sometimes overlap. For example a person with a breast cancer who undergoes plastic surgery has both cosmetic and functional sides to it. Let us explore each branch separately:

Reconstructive Plastic Surgery

Reconstructive plastic surgeries are carried out for the prime purpose of correcting defects on the body or face. The defects can be due to the aftermath of an accident or disease such as rebuilding a woman’s breast after breast surgery to remove tumor. The surgery can also be performed for correcting physical birth defects caused naturally like cleft lips, palates or ear deformities. Moreover, the dog bites and burns can also be fixed through this kind of surgery.

Cosmetic Surgery

Commonly known as aesthetic procedures where a person who is not satisfied with any part of the body can go for an alteration. Common cosmetic surgeries include nose reshaping (rhino plastic surgery), breast enlargement (augmentation mammoplasty), breast reduction (reduction mammoplasty) and liposuction which is removing the fat from specific parts of the body. Some of the cosmetic surgery does not involve the procedures of cutting and sewing such as laser treatment for hair removal.

Techniques of Plastic Surgery

There is a wide range of techniques used by the plastic surgeons for reconstruction of any part of the body which is explained below:

Skin Grafts

This a procedure where the part of a healthy skin from any part of the body is removed to replace an area where skin is damaged or lost due to skin burns or because of a disease.

Skin Flap Surgery

Skin Flap surgery is when a healthy tissue remains partially attached while a piece of tissue is transferred from one part of the body to another along with blood vessels to keep it alive. Thus, in this type of surgery, the surgeons are required to reposition partially attached tissue while it is attached to the body, creating a flap. The flap is later stitched over the damaged area.

Tissue Expansion

This is a technique used by the plastic surgeons to allow the body to grow extra skin by stretching the tissue in the surrounding areas. The extra skin is then used to help grow the nearby areas such as in breast reconstruction.


Similar to other surgeries, there is a significant risk involved in getting plastic surgery done. However, the degree of risk depends on factors such as overall health of a person and whether the surgery is restricted to small or large area of tissue.