How Plastic Surgeons Got Their Name
Monday, October 3, 2011
The term plastic surgery comes from the
Greek word plastike (teckhne) or the
art of modeling or sculpting. The profession dates back to approximately 800 BC
in India where forehead flaps were utilized to reconstruct amputated noses. The
ancient Egyptians and Romans also performed plastic surgery to restore defects
in ears and lips and enhance the appearance of the skin. Plastic surgery was
given the status of a major specialty board by the American Board of Medical
Specialties (ABMS) in 1941. This was well before the modern utilization of the
industrial plastic products we utilize every day. Hence the confusion between
the everyday plastic items we use and plastic surgery.
The practice of plastic surgery
encompasses the restoration, rejuvenation and the enhancement of the patient
through the art of surgery. Plastic surgery can be divided into two main areas:
reconstructive and aesthetic/cosmetic surgery.
Reconstructive plastic surgery is
performed to correct functional impairments caused by burns, traumatic injuries
such as bone breaks, congenital abnormalities such as cleft palates/cleft lips,
developmental abnormalities, infection/disease and cancer/tumors.
Reconstructive plastic surgery is usually performed to improve function, but it
may be done to approximate a normal form or appearance. Aesthetic or cosmetic
plastic surgery involves techniques intended for the enhancement of an
individual's appearance through surgical and medical techniques, and is
specifically concerned with maintaining normal appearance, restoring it, or
enhancing it beyond the average level toward some aesthetic ideal.
The surgical field of plastic surgery is
quite voluminous and covers many surgical fields to include burn, breast, body
contouring, cosmetic, craniofacial, hand, microsurgery, pediatric and
occuloplastic surgery. The first kidney transplant was performed by a plastic
surgeon who subsequently was awarded the Nobel Prize, Dr. Joseph Murray. Other
notable advancements have included breast reconstruction with
implants/autogenous tissue, toe to hand operations to reconstruct and restore
hand function, hand transplants and face transplants. Plastic surgery is one of
the most vast and complicated of the surgical professions.
All plastic surgeons are first
physicians. They must complete college and be a medical school graduate. Often
plastic surgeons go on to study further into one of the many other specific
fields of plastic surgery such as hand, craniofacial, microsurgery, or cosmetic
All board-certified plastic surgeons are
well trained and experienced surgeons. The initial training of a plastic
surgeon receives can occur in many areas of surgery to include urology,
orthopedics, otolaryngology (ENT), general surgery and even neurosurgery.
Completion of the craft requires a core curriculum of plastic surgery that can
last from two to five years. The training process is extensive. Most plastic
surgeons have completed around 14 to 16 years of higher education, and passed
three to five national certifying examinations.
If you’re interested in surgical or
non-surgical procedures, call us at Mangat-Holzapfel Plastic Surgery for
a consultation at (513) 984-FACE in Cincinnati, (859) 331-9600 in Northern
Kentucky, or (970) 766-FACE in the Vail Valley of Colorado.