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Cosmetic Surgery Vs Plastic Surgery

What Is Cosmetic Surgery and What Is Plastic Surgery?

Plastic surgery has got two branches, one is cosmetic surgery and the other one is reconstructive plastic surgery. Cosmetic surgery is aimed at improving the aesthetic outer appearance of a person, while the plastic surgery aims to improve the aesthetic appearance of a person or just the reconstruction surgery. Reconstructive plastic surgery is often referred as reconstructive surgery, but some parts of the world separate cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery completely and terms the cosmetic surgery as non-essential surgery or elective surgery, in which the patient chooses to have while the plastic surgery is understood as surgery to improve appearance after illness or injury.

Many experts say that not everyone is suitable for cosmetic surgery and that there are many factors in one’s life that influence her/his surgery decisions. In some parts of the world, some plastic surgeons delay the procedure until the patient receives psychological counseling. As most of the cosmetic surgery procedures give permanent results, it is essential that the patient is sure about his wanting to go ahead.


Reconstructive Plastic Surgery

Reconstructive plastic surgery is performed to correct impairments caused due to burns, injuries, congenital abnormalities such as cleft lips or cleft palates, developmental abnormalities, diseases and infections, cancer, or tumors. Reconstructive plastic surgery is generally done to improve the function but this may also be performed to approximate a normal appearance. The most common reconstructive procedures are breast reduction plastic surgery, hand surgery, laceration repair, scar removal, and tumor removal. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the numbers of surgeries for breast reduction in women have increased in 2007 by 2 percent from the year before. Breast reduction in men also increased greatly recently.

Some of the other common reconstructive plastic surgical procedures include breast reconstruction after mastectomy for cancer treatment, cleft palate and cleft lip surgery. Plastic surgeons use microsurgery to transfer tissue for coverage when no local tissue is available. Flaps of skin, bone, muscle, fat or a combination of all may be removed from the body and moved to another site on the body and reconnected to a blood supply by suturing veins and arteries as small as one to two millimeters in a diameter.

Sub-specialties in plastic surgery

Plastic surgery is a very broad field and may further be subdivided, which may include:

Aesthetic Surgery

Aesthetic surgery is an essential part of plastic surgery that includes facial and body aesthetic surgery. Plastic surgeons use cosmetic surgical rules in all reconstructive surgical procedures to improve overall appearance of the patient.

Burn Surgery

Burn surgery usually takes place in two stages. One is acute burn surgery, the treatment is immediately after a burn and the other one is reconstructive burn surgery that takes place after the burn wounds have healed.

Craniofacial Surgery

Craniofacial surgery is further divided into pediatric craniofacial surgery and adult craniofacial surgery. Pediatric craniofacial surgery revolves around the treatment of congenital abnormalities of the craniofacial skeleton and soft tissues such as cleft palate and lip, pediatric fractures, and craniosynostosis. Adult craniofacial surgery deals mostly with secondary surgeries and fractures along with orthognathic surgery. Craniofacial surgery is an essential part of all plastic surgery training programs. Further training and sub-specialization is obtained through a craniofacial fellowship.

Hand Surgery

Hand surgery is focused with acute injuries and chronic diseases of the hand and wrist.  Correction of the malformations of the upper extremities and peripheral nerve problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome or brachial plexus injuries are included. Hand surgery has been a very important area of training in plastic surgery as well as microsurgery. Hand surgery is also practiced by general surgeons and orthopedic surgeons. The scar tissue formation after surgery can be a problematic issue on the delicate hand causing loss of dexterity and digit function if it is severe enough.

Microsurgery Surgery

Microsurgery is usually concerned with the reconstruction of tissues that is missing through transferring a piece of tissue to the reconstruction area and blood vessels. The popular subspecialty areas are breast reconstruction, hand surgery, brachial plexus surgery, and head and neck reconstruction.

Pediatric Plastic Surgery

Children often experience medical issues that are different from the experiences of an adult population. Many defects and syndromes that are present at birth are best treated in childhood.  Pediatric plastic surgeons specialize in treating the children in these conditions. Conditions that are commonly treated by a pediatric plastic surgeon include cleft lip and palate, craniofacial anomalies, and congenital hand malformations.

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