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Plastic Surgery - History Of Plastic Surgery, Reconstructive Plastic Surgery, Flaps, Aesthetic Plastic Surgery

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Plastic surgery is the specialized branch of surgery concerned with repairing deformities, correcting functional deficits, and enhancing appearance. Unlike most surgical specialties, plastic surgery is not confined to one specific anatomical or functional area of the body. Often, plastic surgery is classified as either reconstructive or aesthetic surgery. All plastic surgery procedures seek to restore or improve patients' appearances, however, reconstructive surgery focuses on patients with physical problems or deformities while aesthetic (or cosmetic) surgery often focuses on patients who want to improve their appearance even though they have no serious physical defect.


Drawbacks to aesthetic surgery

Although there is nothing wrong with wanting to look good, there are some troubling ethical issues associated with aesthetic plastic surgery. First and foremost, they are not 100% safe. Almost all surgical procedures are associated with the risk of infections, which can lead to death if not identified early and treated properly. In rare cases, liposuction has resulted in too much fluid loss and the formation of blood clots, which can also lead to death. Despite the lack of concrete scientific evidence, some concern has arisen over the possibility that silicone gel breast implants may cause a variety of diseases, including cancer. As a result, most implants are now filled with a saline solution similar to that naturally produced in the body.

Another important issue to consider is that not all aesthetic surgeries result in an improved appearance. Some surgeries, like facial reconstruction, have occasionally resulted in the patient being maimed and disfigured. Others, like the facelift, only last 3-10 years. Finally, some people may come to rely on these form of surgeries to improve their looks while ignoring the need to maintain the healthy lifestyles that not only promote looks but prolong life.

Resources

Books

Aschheim, Kenneth W., and Barry G. Dale. Esthetic Dentistry: A Clinical Approach to Techniques and Materials. 2nd ed. St. Louis: Mosby, Inc., 2001.

Camp, John. Plastic Surgery: The Kindest Cut. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1989.

Keller, Gregory, et al. Lasers in Aesthetic Surgery. New York: Thieme Medical Pub, 2001.

Smith, James W., and Sherrel J. Aston, eds. Grabb and Smith's Plastic Surgery. Boston: Little, Brown, 1996.


Periodicals

Becker, Daniel G. "A 3-Year Multi-institutional Experience With the Liposhaver." The Journal of the American Medical Association 282 (November 24, 1999): 1902.

Fu, Freddie H., et al. "Current Trends in Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction." The American Journal of Sports Medicine 28 (January 2000): 124.

Gokhan, Adanali. "A New, T-Shaped Adaptor For Easy, Quick And Efficient Fat Harvest." Aesthetic Plastic Surgery 26, no. 5 (2002): 340-344.

"The Manly Mammary." Discover (January 1, 2000).

Neimark, Jill. "Change of Face...Change of Fate." Psychology Today (May/June 1994): 94.

Vreeland, Leslie N. "Cosmetic Surgery: Avoiding the Pitfalls." American Health (July/August 1992): 47-53.


David Petechuk

KEY TERMS

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Aesthetic surgery

—Surgery designed primarily to enhance or improve the looks of an individual who may not have a gross deformity or physical impairment. This type of surgery is often referred to as cosmetic surgery.

Craniofacial

—Having to do with the face and skull.

Flap

—A mass of tissue used for transplantation.

Graft

—Bone, skin, or other tissue taken from one place on the body (or, in some cases, from another body), and then transplanted to another place where it begins to grow again.

Reconstructive surgery

—Surgery designed to restore the normal appearance and functioning of disfigured and/or impaired areas of the human body.

Transplantation

—Moving cells or tissues from their point of origin in one organism to a secondary site in the same or a different organism.

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