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Plastic surgery

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Reconsrtuctive surgery for cleft palate.

Plastic surgery is the practice of reshaping and correcting any disfigurements and/or unwanted physical attributes of a patient's body. It is essential that when a patient looks at this operation, he or she must first choose a physician who is right for them and that they trust. This procedure is mainly offered for those who have suffered physical defects and/or tissue failure. It is not for everyone though. It is also often used as a way of enhancing the body's natural look, slowing down the aging process, or rejuvenating skin. Plastic surgery does not cater to these objectives; it may, in fact, do just the opposite. So when considering plastic surgery, whether it be cosmetic or reconstructive, it is important to know the risks and the results that may follow. [1]

Despite these factors, people still feel free to undergo the procedure. A study from the American Society of Plastic Surgery showed that, in 2002, 6.6 million Americans chose to have cosmetic surgery. In addition, in 2004, numbers of several racial groups rose for completed plastic surgeries. Hispanics are in the lead with a whopping 921,000 procedures, after which are African Americans with 769,000 procedures, followed by Asians with 437,000 procedures. This surgery helps give the patient some self-confidence about themselves, making it very popular among women. [2]


Plastic surgery is divided up into two different types: cosmetic and reconstructive. Cosmetic surgery is done on a patient who wishes to boost their self-esteem by changing body parts that already function properly. Once the type of surgery is selected, the patient must go through the procedures, depending on the type of surgery.

These are just some of the kinds of cosmetic surgeries that are offered to a patient:

  • Botox
  • Blepharoplasty
  • Breast Augmentation
  • Breast Reduction
  • Breast Implant Replacement/Removal
  • Brow Lift
  • Buttock Augmentation
  • Chemical Peel
  • Dermabrasion
  • Endoscopy
  • Face Lift
  • Facial Scar Revision
  • Forehead Lift
  • Arm Lift
  • Gynecomastia Reduction
  • Hair Replacement
  • Liposuction
  • Rhinoplasty
  • Thread Lift
  • Tummy Tuck

The ones most commonly chosen are Botox, breast implants, face lift, liposuction, and tummy tuck. Botox was originally created for neurological disorders, but lately is has been used for wrinkles, frown lines, and crow’s feet. First, a small needle containing Botox is inserted into the muscle tissue surrounding the area of the patient’s choice, whether it be a wrinkle or frown line. What it does is it blocks nerve impulses reaching towards the muscle tissue, relaxing it. The pain is easily dealt with and doesn’t last for long. After several months, the procedure can be done again. Side effects from the Botox can cause bruising, numbness, swelling, and a tingling sensation. Antibiotics and the like are not recommended as it will only increase these side effects. Patients are asked to stay away from touching or rubbing the area for the first twelve hours.

Breast implants are one of the most popular among women because it allows them to have the body shape that they have always wanted. The operation is done by inserting silicone or saline implants behind the breast either in the armpit, the crease below the breast, or around the lower edge of the areola. Incisions that enter through the armpit are called endoscopic surgery procedures because an endoscope, a long tube with a light and camera at the end, is used. It gives the surgeon more accuracy and precision when inserting the implants. Recently, there have been improvements made on silicone implants, made from silicon, making it thicker. A cohesive gel added to the implants protects them from leaking or rupturing. [3]


Patient with contracture in his neck


Becoming a plastic surgeon is not an easy task. The student must be willing to go through years and years of schooling and keep their focus on their studies. The requirements for the education are hard and strict. Like any other physician, someone aiming to be a plastic surgeon must go through four years of college to earn an undergraduate degree. The recommended courses to take are either a pre-med course or the basic math and science classes.

To attract a good four-year medical school, the undergraduate must have a strong and extensive background. They must also have a relatively high score on the MCAT, Medical College Admission Test, to even apply. Most medical schools are very competitive, so an applicant must always be prepared to give their best effort. If admitted, the first two years of medical school are spent studying courses such as anatomy, physiology, pathology, biology, epidemiology, and patient care. The last two years concentrate on the clinical aspect of medicine and is more hands on work. They can also take specialized classes in clinical plastic surgery or surgical dentistry.

Finally, after finishing all the education, the students may apply to a specific hospital or clinic where they would like to do their residency, which is a position or term of a medical resident. Normally, a typical physician can just do one year of residency, but most like to specialize in a particular area which requires a minimum of three years. This is the same for plastic surgery. [4]


As it is with any surgery, plastic surgery can bring about some potential health dangers and risks. These risks include infections, blood clots, tissue death, and/or delayed healing. Some others include:

  • excessive or unexpected bleeding (hemorrhage or hematoma)
  • anesthesia risks (including shock, respiratory failure, drug or allergic reactions, cardiac arrest, coma, death)
  • pneumonia
  • loss or change of sensation
  • need for secondary surgeries/dissatisfaction with results
  • paralysis or less severe nerve damage

A patient's health is every doctor's priority when proceeding with an operation. They must make sure that any decision made should be carefully evaluated and carried out with precision. It is true that patients can be subject to complications with their surgeries and should always be aware of the results. Complications could include further disfigurement or scarring of tissues.

Plastic surgery can also affect the patient's psychological state of mind as well. It depends mostly on how the patient feels before the actual surgery takes place. Feelings of insecurity and fear can overtake the patient's mentality. They can be totally unsatisfied with the results even after changing their body. But it is important to note that no matter how many surgeries the patient has, no one can ever achieve perfection. [5]


  1. Plastic Surgery Facts
  2. Plastic Surgery Info
  3. Types of Plastic Surgery The Cosmetic Surgery Directory.
  4. Plastic Surgeon Education Requirements and Career Information
  5. Risks & Rewards of Plastic Surgery Natalie Kita, Guide. Updated March 09, 2009.

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