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Cosmetic Plastic Surgery


Plastic surgery is one of many surgical specialties in the medical world today. It uses various techniques, nonsurgical and surgical, to modify the appearance of a living body. This procedure includes reconstructive operations and cosmetic enhancement. The “plastic” in plastic surgery is derived from “plastikos”, a Greek word t hat means to shape or to mold. Its usage does not connect even slightly to the common synthetic polymer in the current market known as plastic. Plastic surgery is usually used in molding or reshaping the cartilage, bone, fat, muscle and skin.  

Plastic surgery started way back to the 700s BCE. As early as the eighth century BC, physicians in India utilized skin grafts in their work. The Romans also performed techniques like mending injured ears. They were practicing this during the first century BC. During mid-fifteenth century, back in Europe, Heinrich von Pfolspeundt described the process as “to make a new nose for one who lacks it entirely, and the dogs have devoured it”. The skin is removed from the back of the arm and suturing it in place.  

It was only in the nineteenth and twentieth century that plastic surgery became common. This is due to the hazard associated with any form of surgery, especially when it involves the face or head. Before the advent of anesthesia plastic surgery involved a lot of discomfort for the patients, in modern times this has been greatly reduced.  Also, infections from surgeries were reduced only after disinfectants and sterile techniques were introduced. One other step that made elective surgery possible is the invention of antibiotics, like the penicillin and sulfa drugs.  

Common Techniques  

Some common techniques that are used in plastic surgery are excision, incision, chemosurgery, microsurgery, liposuction, dermabrasion, laser surgery and elecrosurgery. The most frequent practice in plastic surgery is skin tissue transfer or skin grating. A “graft”, in traditional surgery, is a piece of transplanted living tissue or organ.  

The skin graft that is taken from the recipient is called autografts. There are alternatives in cases where natural tissue is absent or deficient. One of this is Cultured Sheets of Epithelial cells in vitro. Another alternative is synthetic compounds. An example of these compounds is the Integra. It is a two layered dermal replacement which is made up of silicone and bovine tendon collagen with glycosaminoglycans.  

For those skin grafts that are taken from a donor of the same species, they are called Allografts. Those that are taken from donors of another species, on the other hand, are called Xenografts.  

To have good results in a surgery, a few things should be emphasized. First, incisions should be carefully planned so they will fall in line with the skins natural lines and folds. Second, wound closures should be appropriately chosen. One should also use the best available suture materials. Exposed sutures should also be removed as soon as possible so that the buried sutures will hold the wound close.  

Reconstructive Surgery  

Reconstructive Plastic Surgery is carried to when functional impairments are corrected. Some causes for such impairments are burns, congenital abnormalities, traumatic injuries, removal of tumors or cancers, infection or disease and developmental abnormalities. An example for traumatic injury is facial bone fracture. Cleft palate or cleft lip is an example for congenital abnormality.  

This type of surgery is usually carried out for function improvement, though it can also be done to change the physical appearance. Breast reconstruction is a common procedure on reconstructive surgery for women who had undergone mastectomy. Another procedure is contracture surgery which is done to survivors from burns.  

Cosmetic Surgery  

A very popular form of plastic surgery is Cosmetic Surgery. In the United States alone, almost eleven million cosmetic surgeries were done in the year 2006. It is also legal in the US, for any doctor to perform cosmetic plastic surgery, regardless of what they specialize.  

The “American Board of Medical Specialties” defined plastic surgery as the subspecialty that is dedicated to the surgical repair of physical defects, function or form. This includes reconstructive surgery, as well as aesthetic surgery or cosmetic surgery. However, “cosmetic surgery” is referred to the type of surgery designed to enhance appearance or cosmetics. As to this, even doctors that are not competent as surgeons can execute cosmetic surgery.  

Some of the most widespread cosmetic or aesthetic surgeries are Abdominoplasty, Blepharoplasty, Mammoplasty, Buttock Augmentation, Chemical Peel, Labiaplasty, Rhinoplasty, Otoplasty, Rhytidectomy, Suction-Assisted Lipectomy, Chin Augmentation, Cheek Augmentation, Laser skin resurfacing, Collagen and other tissue filler injections and dermal filler injections.  

Abdominoplasty or otherwise known as “tummy tuck” is the firming and reshaping of the abdomen. Blepharoplasty or commonly known as “eyelid surgery” is the reshaping of eyelids or application of permanent eyeliners. Labiaplasty is the reshaping or reduction of the labia. Rhinoplasty, also known as “nose job” is the reshaping of the nose. Otoplasty, the reshaping of the ears, is also known as ear surgery. Rhytidectomy which is also known as “face lift” is the removal of facial wrinkles and other signs of aging.  

Mammoplasty can be categorized into three procedures. Breast augmentation, Breast reduction and Breast lift. Breast augmentation, also known as breast enlargement involves the use of either silicone or saline gel prosthetics. Breast reduction involves removal of glandular tissues and skin. This is usually done to reduce shoulder and back pains or for psychological benefits for women with macromastia. Breast lift or Mastopexy is the reshaping or lifting of the breasts to make them appear less saggy which often happens after weight loss.  

Buttock Augmentation, also known as butt implants, is the enhancement of the buttocks done by the use of fat grafting or silicone implants. Suction-Assisted Lipectomy, also known as liposuction is the subtraction of fats from the body. Chin augmentation is done with implants to the chin or by sliding genioplasty of the jawbone.  

Chemical peel is minimizing the emergence of pock, acne and other scars as well as wrinkles. This usually involves carbolic acid, glycolic acid, trichloroacetic acid or salicylic acid as the active agent.  

Recently, patients that are seeking cosmetic surgery had traveled to other countries in order to find doctors that practice cosmetic surgery at a lower cost. These tourists have overlooked the risks of complications and lack of support after surgery just for a cheaper price.  If you are thinking about plastic surgery it's vital to consider the level of aftercare you will receive if you elect to travel abroad.