About 'plastic' of plastic surgery
Many a times I have seen my patients getting confused about the 'plastic' in plastic surgery. Doubts are expressed about techniques employed during surgery. There are also concerns about delayed complications as a result of this type of surgery.
Plastic derives from the Greek word 'plastikos', which means 'to mold'. Plastic surgery involves procedures for restoration of form and function of the body. It can also be interpreted as borrowing from Peter to pay Paul, wherein both Peter and Paul are parts of the same person.
Plastic surgery involves reconstruction of various cavities and coverings of the body. Unlike other surgical specialties, it is not confined to any particular organ system. Broadly, it comprises of reconstructive and cosmetic surgery. Reconstructive surgery is the restoration of body parts which are damaged as a result of disease or trauma. It can be performed either on an emergency or elective basis. Cosmetic surgery is the improvement in the appearance of a body part which is otherwise normal in function. Procedures for facial rejuvenation and body contouring are examples of cosmetic surgery. Division into reconstructive and cosmetic becomes blurred in certain situations like facial plastic surgery.The face should have a pleasing appearance for the effective discharge of its social functions. Hence, one can say that an intervention to improve the appearance of the face also ends up with an improvement of function.
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I like to keep it simple.