What is plastic surgery?
Plastic surgery refers to surgery that improves the appearance, and sometimes function, of part of the body. The word ‘plastic’ does not actually mean that the material plastic is inserted into the body, but rather originates from a Greek word meaning ‘to mould’ or ‘to shape’. Plastic surgery is divided into two categories: reconstructive and cosmetic.
The aim of reconstructive surgery is to correct defects resulting from injuries (such as burns), diseases (such as replacing a breast after its removal due to cancer), or those present from birth (such as a cleft palate.) On these occasions, function will have an equal priority to appearance.
This refers to surgery that is done by choice for aesthetic value. Examples include face-lifts, breast enlargement or reduction and the removal of birthmarks.
Plastic surgery can have great benefits. For example, new-found self-confidence could result in an improvement in the patient’s social or work life. Other people may also be more accepting, given that very often, despite ourselves, we still judge people based on their appearance.
As with all surgery, there are important risks to consider. These include the chance of a negative reaction to anaesthetic, bleeding problems, loss of feeling in the affected area and others. In addition, plastic surgery may leave scarring or an appearance that does not meet the patient’s expectations. Expectations can also be a problem when the patient discovers that the procedure has not changed who they are and has not magically made everything in their life better.
If you are considering plastic surgery, consult a doctor and your family and friends first. Check your motivations and what you hope to gain from it. If you decide it is for you, do your research well and choose a good surgeon, not just the cheapest, and stick to medical advice you receive.