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Plastic Surgery

PLASTIC SURGERY. The medical specialty of plastic surgery is concerned with the reshaping of body tissues to correct patients’ disfigurements and malformations and to improve physical appearance. The word plastic comes from the Greek plastikos, meaning “to shape” or “to form.” The primary objectives in plastic surgery are to restore the impaired function of damaged tissues and to produce cosmetically pleasing results. To accomplish these ends, plastic surgeons must have knowledge of the different tissues available for reconstruction, such as the epidermis, dermis, subcutaneous fat, muscle, bone, cartilage, nerves, and tendons. They must understand the behavior of these tissues under surgical conditions and the effects of surgery on the tissues.
Malformations and disfigurements generally result from congenital defects, injuries, diseases such as cancer, or surgery that requires the removal of large sections of muscle and other tissue. Common congenital defects include cleft lip or palate, which occurs when facial bones and other tissues fail to fuse during embryonic stages. Injuries that often require corrective plastic surgery include serious chemical and thermal burns and traumatic wounds suffered in wars, accidents, and natural disasters.
Plastic surgery dates back to 600 BC, when Hindu physicians were surgically reconstructing noses. Amputation of the nose was a common punishment for adultery. The physicians shifted a segment of cheek tissue to cover the nasal opening, thus constructing a new nose. Modern plastic surgery techniques originated after World War I as surgeons sought to repair wounds and disfigurements soldiers and civilians suffered in the war. These techniques included better facial restorations, improved artificial limbs (known as prostheses), and more successful skin grafts.
As such techniques have become more sophisticated, the psychotherapeutic effects of plastic surgery have played a greater r…

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