Just mention plastic surgery and people are curious. In the age of quick information and social media, opinions and knowledge about plastic surgical procedures is widely available but oftentimes leaves patients confused and overwhelmed. Even the term ‘plastic surgery’ is somewhat misleading. The question asked frequently in our office is “what does plastic surgery mean?” The answer: “plastic” comes from the Greek word ‘plastikos’ which means to shape or to mold. As plastic surgeons we are shaping and molding areas of the body.
Our training focuses on three distinct areas: reconstructive surgery, cosmetic surgery and hand surgery. Many plastic surgeons go on to create a niche in what is otherwise a vast specialty. Some focus strictly on cosmetic surgery while others have a practice that balances cosmetic surgery with reconstructive surgery. Almost everyone has areas of their bodies that they think could use some improvement, and one way to do that is to undergo cosmetic or reconstructive surgery. The term cosmetic surgery includes surgical procedures such as facelifts, breast augmentation and tummy tucks, as well as such nonsurgical procedures such as botox, facial fillers and chemical face peels. Reconstructive surgery can include cancer reconstruction, reconstruction after burns or trauma, hand surgery and reconstruction of congenital malformations.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, for 2012:
- 14.6 million cosmetic procedures were performed
- 1.6 million cosmetic surgical procedures
- 13 million cosmetic minimally-invasive procedures
- 5.6 million reconstructive procedures
The top 5 cosmetic surgeries for 2012:
- Breast augmentation (286,000)
- Nose reshaping (243,000)
- Eyelid surgery (204,000)
- Liposuction (202,000)
- Facelift (126,000)
The top five non invasive plastic surgery procedures in 2010 were:
- Botulinum Toxin Type A
- Soft tissue fillers
- Chemical peel
- Laser hair removal
Choosing a Plastic Surgeon
After deciding which body part you would like to change, look for a plastic surgeon. Consider finding a surgeon who:
- Has completed at least five years of surgical training with a minimum of two years in plastic surgery.
- Is trained and experienced in all plastic surgery procedures, including: Breast, body, face and reconstruction.
- Operates only in accredited medical facilities
- Adheres to a strict code of ethics.
- Fulfills continuing medical education requirements, including standards and innovations in patient safety.
- Is board certified by The American Board of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.