Plastic surgery: Everything you need to know!

Plastic surgery, which is a broad field, is a medical speciality involving the restoration, reconstruction, or alteration of the human body. 

Updated: Jul 15, 2016, 14:44 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: Plastic surgery has come a long way in recent years with better, safer techniques, more natural-looking results and even shorter recovery time.

Plastic surgery, which is a broad field, is a medical speciality involving the restoration, reconstruction, or alteration of the human body. It has has two broad divisions – Reconstructive surgery and Aesthetic surgery. These are not mutually exclusive and very often a patient will end up needing both to achieve the best results.


Reconstructive Plastic Surgery is performed to correct functional impairments caused by burns; traumatic injuries, such as facial bone fractures and breaks; congenital abnormalities, such as cleft palates or cleft lips; developmental abnormalities; infection and disease; and cancer or tumors.

Reconstructive plastic surgery includes cosmetic or aesthetic surgery, reconstructive surgery, craniofacial surgery, hand surgery, microsurgery, and the treatment of burns. Plastic Surgery is not just cosmetic surgery. Plastic surgery is a broad field, and may be subdivided further.

Dr Leena Jain, Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Micro Surgeon, SL Raheja Fortis Hospital, Mahim, discussed some of the key sub-disciplines of plastic surgery. They are:

Aesthetic surgery

Aesthetic Surgery is an essential component of plastic surgery and includes facial and body aesthetic surgery. Plastic surgeons use cosmetic surgical principles in all reconstructive surgical procedures as well as isolated operations to improve overall appearance.

Burn Surgery

Burn Surgery generally takes place in two phases. Acute burn surgery is the treatment immediately after a burn. Reconstructive burn surgery takes place after the burn wounds have healed.

Craniofacial surgery

Craniofacial Surgery is divided into pediatric and adult craniofacial surgery. Pediatric craniofacial surgery mostly revolves around the treatment of congenital anomalies of the craniofacial skeleton and soft tissues, such as cleft lip and palate, craniosynostosis and pediatric fractures. Adult craniofacial surgery deals mostly with fractures and secondary surgeries (such as orbital reconstruction) along with orthognathic surgery.

Hand surgery 

Hand Surgery is concerned with acute injuries and chronic diseases of the hand and wrist, correction of congenital malformations of the upper extremities, and peripheral nerve problems (such as brachial plexus injuries or carpal tunnel syndrome). Hand Surgery is an important part of training in plastic surgery, as well as microsurgery, which is necessary to replant an amputated extremity.


Microsurgery is generally concerned with the reconstruction of missing tissues by transferring a piece of tissue to the reconstruction site and reconnecting blood vessels. Popular sub specialty areas are breast reconstruction, head and neck reconstruction, hand surgery/replantation, and brachial plexus surgery.

Pediatric plastic surgery

Children often face medical issues very different from the problems of an adult patient. Many birth defects or syndromes present at birth are best treated in childhood, and Pediatric Plastic Surgeons specialize in treating these conditions in children. Conditions commonly treated by pediatric plastic surgeons include craniofacial anomalies, cleft lip and palate and congenital hand deformities.

In plastic surgery, the transfer of skin tissue (skin grafting) is a very common procedure. Skin grafts can be derived from the recipient himself/herself or donors.

  • Autografts are taken from the recipient.
  • Allografts are taken from a donor of the same species.
  • Xenografts are taken from a donor of a different species.

World Plastic Surgery Day is observed annually on July 15. On this day, hospitals, plastic surgeons, doctors from other specialties interact with patients and their attendants about the facilities and services being offered by the plastic surgery.