The Two Main Types of Plastic Surgery: A Comprehensive Guide

Plastic surgery is a field that has gained immense popularity in recent years. It involves altering certain areas of the body to treat medical problems or improve appearance. Plastic surgeons are trained to perform procedures on various parts of the body, including the face, neck, breasts, stomach, arms, and legs. The term 'plastic surgery' comes from the Greek word plastikos, which means to mold or shape.

This field can be divided into two main categories: reconstructive procedures and cosmetic procedures. Both are considered subspecialties of plastic surgery. Reconstructive surgery is used to repair defects or injuries and restore function. On the other hand, cosmetic surgery is performed for non-medical reasons, with the goal of improving appearance. While health insurance rarely covers the cost of cosmetic procedures, the number of people opting for cosmetic plastic surgery continues to grow. The most common cosmetic surgeries include breast augmentation, liposuction, nose reshaping, eyelid surgery, tummy tuck, and facelift.

However, plastic surgery is not limited to adults only. Many parents choose to have their children undergo plastic surgery to treat conditions such as cleft lip and palate. Plastic surgeons play a crucial role in various medical fields. All oncology, otolaryngologist, and maxillofacial surgeons rely on the reconstructive techniques developed by plastic surgeons. Due to the broad application of plastic surgery, these surgeons work closely with a wide range of equipment from other specialties. The history of plastic surgery dates back to ancient times.

Several ancient Sanskrit medical treatises mention some types of plastic surgery in India. The works of Sushruta and Charaka describe various surgical techniques used for reconstructive purposes. During World War I, the development of weapons such as machine guns and explosive projectiles led to an increase in the number of mutilations on the faces and heads of soldiers. This resulted in a rapid advancement in plastic surgery techniques. While plastic surgeons used to focus primarily on skin grafts, reconstructive surgery now consists of a series of powerful procedures involving the movement of tissue around the body. When considering plastic surgery, it is essential to choose a board-certified plastic surgeon who is experienced in performing the specific procedure you are interested in.

Another area of practice related to plastic surgery techniques is cosmetic surgery, which involves altering the body to improve appearance rather than treating a medical condition. Hand surgery is an important part of plastic surgery training, as well as microsurgery, which is needed to replant an amputated limb. Dr. Amy Moore, a renowned plastic surgeon and professor at Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University, specializes in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Plastic surgery can also be used to treat various conditions such as large defects, pressure sores, chronic wounds, venous and other ulcers on the legs, and the results of devastating infections. Modern surgery has advanced to such an extent that surgeons now specialize in specific areas of the body or particular techniques or types of patients. Cosmetic surgery is a core component of plastic surgery and includes cosmetic facial and body procedures.

In 1941, Sir Archibald McIndoe, an RAF consultant, founded a Center for Plastic and Jaw Surgery at the recently reconstructed Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead, Sussex. This center has played a significant role in advancing plastic surgery techniques.

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