It's a common misunderstanding that the word plastic in plastic surgery means artificial. The word comes from the ancient Greek word plastikos, which means to mold or give form. Plastic surgery is a surgical specialty involved with both the improvement in a person's appearance and the reconstruction of facial and body tissue defects caused by illness, trauma, or birth disorders.
Plastic surgery restores and improves function, as well as appearance. It can involve surgery on any part of the anatomy, except the central nervous system, including:
- Skin, including skin cancer, scars, burns, birthmarks, and tattoo removal
- Maxillofacial (the facial skeleton)
- Congenital anomalies, including deformed ears, cleft palate, and cleft lip