Plastic surgery is usually a speciality that is carried out by a dermatologist. It entails both reconstructive surgery and cosmetic surgery. Reconstructive surgery aims at reconstructing a part of body or improve its functioning whereas cosmetic surgery is usually done to enhance the beauty of a body part. The techniques involved for these procedures are adopted widely throughout the world.

Sushruta, an Indian physician made important contributions to the field of plastic and cataract surgery and is generally considered the father of Surgery. Sir Harold Gillies is considered as the father of modern plastic surgery. He was an otolaryngologist of New Zealand who worked in London. He developed many techniques of modern facial surgery while treating soldiers wounded in First World War. 

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Frequently asked questions about Plastic Surgery

What are different kinds of plastic surgeries?

The two different kinds of plastic surgeries are reconstructive surgery and cosmetic surgery. The surgeries that fall in these two categories are:

  • Aesthetic surgery 
  • Burn surgery 
  • Craniofacial surgery 
  • Hand surgery 
  • Microsurgery 
What is the difference between plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery?

Plastic surgery is a broad category that contains two sub-specialities: reconstructive surgery and cosmetic surgery. Reconstructive surgeries are usually performed to reconstruct a part of body or improving the function of a body part whereas cosmetic surgery aims at beauty enhancements and hence are elective, voluntarily taken up by people.

What kind of surgery removes scars?

Scar revision surgeries are performed when the scar interferes with the function as in hand where the dexterity is lost or when someone wants to improve the aesthetic appearance of a body part. So they involve either a reconstructive surgery or a cosmetic surgery, both which come under the broader term plastic surgery.  

What are the risks involved with plastic surgery?

Like any surgery, plastic surgeries also carry some inherent risks. Some of these include:

  • Complications that can arise out of anesthesia like pneumonia, blood clots and sometimes even death
  • Infection at the incision site. This can cause additional scarring and may necessitate further surgery
  • Fluid buildup under the skin
  • Mild to excessive bleeding
  • Scarring that is abnormal
  • Separation of surgical wound
  • Nerve damage that may cause numbness and tingling.
Can cosmetic surgery go wrong?

There are numerous cases where a cosmetic surgery has gone wrong. The reasons are varied and some of them may include:

  • Scarring: Everyone’s response to wound healing is different. Some may develop extensive scarring at the incision site. This can lead to botched up surgeries.
  • Appearance of cellulites at the site of liposuction: Places that are not a part of liposuction can develop additional fat.
  • Infections: If a patient is a chronic smoker or is on steroids, the chances of infections at the site of incision. Sometimes even life-threatening infections can develop.
  • Nerve damage: Several cases have been reported where nerves get damaged during the procedure. This may cause numbness and if facial nerve is damaged, facial expressions become limited and there can be drooping of mouth and eyes.
  • Supplements that the surgeon is unaware: Certain supplements that the patient considers safe can cause blood thinning and result severe haemorrhaging. Some over-the-counter pills can cause cardiac arrest. 
What are the different types of pediatric plastic surgeries?

Pediatric surgeries usually include corrections of congenital anomalies of the craniofacial skeleton and soft tissues such as cleft lip and palate, craniosynostosis, and pediatric fractures. 

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Plastic surgery contains many sub-specialities. Some of these include:

  • Aesthetic surgery which includes both face and body is central component of plastic surgery.
  • Burn surgery which takes place in two phases. One is immediately after the burn and the other is after the burn wounds have healed.
  • Craniofacial surgery which includes both pediatric patients and adult patients. Pediatric surgeries usually include corrections of congenital anomalies of the craniofacial skeleton and soft tissues such as cleft lip and palate, craniosynostosis, and pediatric fractures. In adult patients, the common surgeries are mostly with fractures and secondary surgeries such as orbital reconstruction and orthognathic surgery.
  • Hand surgery usually involves acute injuries and chronic diseases of the hand and the wrist, congenital malformations corrections of the upper extremities, and peripheral nerve problems such as brachial plexus injuries or carpal tunnel syndrome. Hand surgery, along with microsurgery, forms an important part in replanting an amputated extremity. Hand surgery is also practiced by orthopaedic surgeons and general surgeons. 
  • Microsurgery which involves reconstruction of missing tissues by grafting a piece of tissue at the site of reconstruction and reconnecting blood vessels. Some of the popular surgeries under microsurgery include breast reconstruction, head and neck reconstruction, hand surgery or replantation, and brachial plexus surgery.

Reconstructive surgery is sometimes very necessary to restore function. This kind of surgery sometimes become compulsory but cosmetic surgeries are elective and done voluntarily by people.

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