Just because the name includes the word “plastic” doesn’t mean patients who have this surgery end up with a face full of fake stuff. The name isn’t taken from the synthetic substance but from the Greek word plastics, which means to form or mold (and which gives the material plastic its name as well).
Plastic surgery is a special type of surgery that can change a person’s appearance and ability to function.
- Reconstructive procedures correct defects on the face or body. These include physical birth defects like cleft lips and palates and ear deformities, traumatic injuries like those from dog bites or burns, or the aftermath of disease treatments like rebuilding a woman’s breast after surgery for breast cancer.
- Cosmetic (also called aesthetic) procedures alter a part of the body that the person is not satisfied with. Common cosmetic procedures include making the breasts larger (augmentation mammoplasty) or smaller (reduction mammoplasty), reshaping the nose (rhinoplasty), and removing pockets of fat from specific spots on the body (liposuction). Some cosmetic procedures aren’t even surgical in the way that most people think of surgery — that is, cutting and stitching. For example, the use of special lasers to remove unwanted hair and sanding skin to improve severe scarring are two such treatments.