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Plastic Surgery Specialist Doctor
Plastic Surgery Specialist Doctor
Plastic surgeons have always been associated with cosmetic surgeries, a surgical specialty focusing on enhancing someone’s appearance. However, plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery are two different things in terms of function and purpose.
In medical science, plastic surgery is a branch of medicine concerned with the reconstruction and repair of defects in the body due to accidents or congenital defects. Meanwhile, cosmetic surgery uses procedures, techniques for the purpose of improving the appearance of the body.
Plastic surgery is divided into two types: reconstructive plastic surgery and cosmetic plastic surgery. Reconstructive plastic surgery is performed to improve body function or repair damaged body parts due to accidents, congenital defects (abnormal facial shape or cleft lip), damaged or broken facial bones, ear deformities, scarring or burns , postoperative disabilities, and other broken parts of the body.
On the other hand, cosmetic surgery is a type of plastic surgery that aims to improve one’s appearance. Cosmetic surgery is usually performed through the procedures of eye-widening, eyelid-creasing, eye bag removal, nose-reshaping, breast lifting, jaw surgery, lip-reshaping, liposuction, and many other procedures to enhance the patient’s appearance.
In terms of the name itself, many may wonder why ‘plastic surgery’? The word plastic is derived from the Greek word “plastikos” which is defined as “forming” or “printing”. This word is then used to describe the purpose of plastic surgery as an act of “reshaping” a damaged body part due to accident or congenital defects.
The oldest plastic surgery procedure in history was performed in the 16th century by Gaspare Tagliacozzi, an Italian healer who performed skin transplants from the inner arm to repair a deformed patient’s nose.
Sub-specialties in Plastic Surgery
Plastic surgery, similar to other medical sciences, also has several sub-specialties:
- Burn care, a plastic surgery sub-specialty focused on handling cases related to damaged body or skin due to burns. The damage caused by burns are usually severe.
- Wound care and oncoplasty, a sub-specialty in plastic surgery focused on handling cases related to wounds and postoperative tissue recovery, whether for surgical removal of tumors or cancer. For example, postoperative breast reconstructive surgery to remove cancer.
- Microsurgery, a sub-specialty in plastic surgery focused on neurosurgery or small blood vessels using a microscope.
- External genitalia a sub-specialty in plastic surgery focused on improving the shape and function of female sexual organs, such as repair of labia products, vaginoplasty, or hymen reconstruction.
- Craniofacial surgery, sub-specialty in plastic surgery focused on handling cases of facial deformities that are generally caused by congenital defects. The craniofacial surgeon is able to reshape the head, face, jaw, skull, and other parts of the face.
- Hand surgery, a plastic surgery sub-specialty that focuses on handling surgical procedures in the hand area, such as repairing dysfunctional fingers and hands due to injuries, rheumatism, infections, or congenital defects.
- Aesthetic, a plastic surgery sub-speciality focused on dealing with surgeries aimed at achieving aesthetic goals
Diseases and Conditions Treated by Plastic Surgeons
As discussed earlier, the field of plastic surgery has a variety of sub-specialties. The diseases and conditions treated by plastic surgeons also vary. Some of them include:
- Cancer, generally skin cancer and breast cancer.
- Severe scars that cause dysfunction of certain body parts.
- Third-degree burns (full thickness burn), which is caused by heat, radiation, chemicals, liquids, steam, or electric shock.
- Scars affecting appearance or function of the body.
- Cleft lip, intersex surgery and other congenital defects.
- Damaged body parts or deformities due to injury.
- Damaged tissue found after cancer removal.
- Wounds due to chronic diseases, like diabetes.
- Reconnect severed blood vessels.
Medical Procedures Performed by Plastic Surgeons
To provide the right procedure that suits the patient’s needs, a plastic surgeon will first conduct an examination and provide consultation. Knowing the patient’s medical history is also very important, given the possibility of complications or the patient’s allergy to anaesthetics.
In the field of plastic surgery, there are several procedures that plastic surgeons can perform, namely:
- Tissue expansion procedure, a procedure that stretches skin tissue in order for the body to rapidly grow new skin tissue, which then will be used to repair damaged body tissue.
- Flap surgery procedure, a procedure similar to a skin graft, but the tissue is removed along with the blood vessels.
- Microsurgery procedure, a surgical procedure using a microscope to repair the delicate nerves in the patient’s damaged body part
When to See a Plastic Surgeon?
Plastic surgery is a medical procedure performed based on situational factors. For example, a patient who has had an accident will need plastic surgery if the body is so damaged that it requires reconstruction. This may be in the case of traffic accidents that require reconnection of broken body parts or serious burns that damage the patient’s skin tissue.
Plastic surgery can also be performed when the patient needs postoperative repair as the surgical scars normally leave keloids or scars. However, in the case of congenital defects, plastic surgery is needed to improve dysfunctional body functions such as cleft lip, webbed fingers, or other abnormal body parts that require repair.
As for cosmetic plastic surgery, although not for repairing damaged body parts it needs to be done carefully and with full consideration. In some cases, cosmetic surgery may have unpredictable results, which require further surgery. Therefore, it is necessary to have an in-depth and comprehensive consultation with the surgeon about the incision and the post-surgery risks.
Risks of Plastic Surgery
If you are planning to do plastic surgery, both for reconstructive or cosmetic purposes, it is a good idea to pay attention to some of the potential post-surgery risks that may occur. The risk of plastic surgery is also higher for patients who have high blood pressure, diabetes, heart, lung, high cholesterol, and blood disorders (thick blood, thin blood, or blood-clotting problems). Consultation is strongly advised to minimise the complications.
The following are some post-plastic surgery risks that may occur:
- Nerve damage that may lead to nerve sensitivity and numbness.
- Infections or sores around or in the body part operated on
- Persistent scars
- Postoperative bleeding
- Hematoma, a condition of blood clotting in the body part operated on
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