Plastic surgery is a medical specialty that uses a number of surgical and nonsurgical techniques to change the appearance and function of a person's body. Plastic surgery procedures include both cosmetic enhancements as well as functionally reconstructive operations. In the former case, where aesthetics are considered more important than functionality, plastic surgery is also referred to as cosmetic surgery. Most procedures involve both aesthetic and functional elements.
Reconstructive plastic surgery
Common reconstructive surgical procedures are: breast reconstruction for women who have had a mastectomy, cleft lip and palate surgery, contracture surgery and skin grafting for burn survivors,creating a new outer ear when one is congenitally absent, and closing skin and mucosa defects after removal of tumors in the head and neck region.
Plastic surgeons developed the use of microsurgery to transfer tissue for coverage of a defect when no local tissue is available. Tissue flaps comprised of skin, muscle, bone, fat or a combination, may be removed from the body, moved to another site on the body and reconnected to a blood supply by suturing arteries and veins as small as 1-2 mm in diameter.
Cosmetic surgery is a very popular form of plastic surgery. In 2006, nearly 11 million cosmetic plastic surgeries were performed in the United States alone.
The most prevalent aesthetic/cosmetic procedures are listed below. Most of these types of surgery are more commonly known by their "common names." These are also listed when pertinent.
- Abdominoplasty (or "tummy tuck"): reshaping and firming of the abdomen
- Blepharoplasty (or "eyelid surgery"): Reshaping of the eyelids or the application of permanent eyeliner, including Asian blepharoplasty
Breast augmentation (or "breast enlargement" or "boob job"): Augmentation of the breasts. This can involve either saline or silicone gel prosthetics.
Breast reduction: Removal of skin and glandular tissue. Indicated to reduce back and shoulder pain or for psychological benefit in women with macromastia.
- Buttock Augmentation (or "butt augmentation" or "butt implants"): Enhancement of the buttocks. This procedure can be performed by using silicone implants or fat grafting and transfer from other areas of the body.
- Chemical peel: Minimizing the appearance of acne, pock, and other scars as well as wrinkles (depending on concentration and type of agent used, except for deep furrows), solar lentigines (age spots, freckles), and photodamage in general. Chemical peels commonly involve carbolic acid (Phenol), trichloroacetic acid (TCA), glycolic acid (AHA), or salicylic acid (BHA) as the active agent.
- Mastopexy (or "breast lift"): Raising or reshaping of breasts. Involves removal of breast skin as opposed to glandular tissue.
- Labiaplasty: Surgical reduction and reshaping of the labia
- Rhinoplasty (or "nose job"): Reshaping of the nose
- Otoplasty (or ear surgery): Reshaping of the ear
- Rhytidectomy (or "face lift"): Removal of wrinkles and signs of aging from the face
- Suction-Assisted Lipectomy (or liposuction): Removal of fat from the body
- Chin augmentation: Augmentation of the chin with an implant (e.g. silicone) or by sliding genioplasty of the jawbone.
- Cheek augmentation
- Collagen, fat, and other tissue filler injections (eg hyaluronic acid)
- Laser skin resurfacing
- Injection of dermal fillers (collagen, hyaluronic acid, fat, and others)
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