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What Is Plastic Surgery? Should You Do It?

Updated: Mar 2, 2023

Dr. Srinjoy Saha, Clinical Associate Professor in Plastic Surgery and Consultant Plastic Surgeon, Apollo Hospitals Kolkata.

What is plastic surgery, and what are the main types of procedures?

Plastic surgery is a medical speciality that involves restoring, reconstructing, or altering the anatomy of the human body. It's derived from the Greek word 'plastikos', which means 'to mould something'. Generally speaking, it means reshaping the form of the body. In modern medical science, plastic surgery is a particular branch of medicine that aims to correct the aesthetic defects in the human body and improve physical appearance.

The two main types of plastic surgery are reconstructive and cosmetic. Plastic surgeons perform reconstructive surgery to correct physical defects caused by congenital disabilities, injury, or disease. In contrast, they perform cosmetic surgery to enhance a person's appearance.

What are some standard reconstructive plastic surgery procedures, and what are their specific benefits and risks?

Reconstructive surgery is a specialized plastic surgery to restore or improve body function. It recreates any diseased or damaged parts of the body. There are different types of reconstructive surgery. Hand surgery, craniofacial, burn treatment, maxillofacial, and microsurgery are some of them. These surgeries restore appearance and function after cancers, injuries, burns, road accidents, etc.

Reconstructive plastic surgery procedures can include breast reconstruction, cleft lip repair, or skin grafting. Each method has specific benefits and risks, which patients should know. For example, breast reconstruction can help restore a woman's sense of femininity and improve her body image. Still, it can also lead to complications such as infection or implant rupture. Similarly, while cleft lip repair can improve a child's speech and hearing, it can also result in scarring or asymmetry.

What are some standard cosmetic plastic surgery procedures, and what are their specific benefits and risks?

Cosmetic surgery is an advanced plastic surgery that aims to alter body shape towards an aesthetic ideal. It elevates a body's appearance from ordinary to excellent. Since it improves the aesthetics of the face and the body, it is also called aesthetic surgery. Some standard procedures include rhinoplasty, liposuction, breast enhancement, botox, and filler injections.

Cosmetic plastic surgery procedures can include facelifts, liposuction, or breast augmentation. These procedures can improve a person's self-confidence and enhance their physical appearance. Still, they also come with potential risks and complications. For example, facelifts can result in nerve damage, infection, or scarring. At the same time, breast augmentation can lead to implant rupture or capsular contracture.

Photo of the face of a smiling dusky Indian woman.

How can patients choose a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon, and what should they look for regarding qualifications and training?

Choosing a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon is crucial for ensuring a safe and successful outcome for any plastic surgery procedure. Patients should look for a board-certified surgeon with specialized training in the treatment they are considering. Board certification ensures that the surgeon has completed a rigorous training program and has passed comprehensive exams to demonstrate their competency in plastic surgery.

Patients should also consider a surgeon's experience performing the specific procedure they want. Surgeons who have flawlessly executed many techniques have more experience and are more likely to achieve the desired outcome for their patients. Patients can ask the surgeon about their experience with the specific procedure and ask to see before-and-after photos of their previous patients.

In addition to qualifications and experience, patients should also feel comfortable with their surgeon and be able to communicate openly with them. A good plastic surgeon should listen to the patient's concerns and goals and provide honest feedback about what he can achieve with the procedure. Patients should also feel comfortable asking questions and discussing any potential risks or complications associated with the process.

Another factor to consider is the surgeon's reputation and patient reviews. Patients can read online reviews from previous patients or ask for referrals from friends or family members who have undergone plastic surgery. Learning about previous experiences can help patients better understand the surgeon's bedside manner, communication style, and overall patient satisfaction.

Finally, patients should consider the location and facilities where the surgery will get performed. The surgical facility should be accredited and meet high standards for safety and cleanliness. Patients should also feel comfortable with the location and easily access the facility for pre-operative and post-operative appointments.

Patients should take their time choosing a plastic surgeon and carefully consider their qualifications, experience, communication style, reputation, and surgical facility. By selecting a qualified and experienced surgeon who prioritizes patient safety and satisfaction, patients can increase the likelihood of a successful outcome for their plastic surgery procedure.

Photo a beautiful Indian woman with fine earrings.

What are some potential psychological benefits of plastic surgery, and how do they compare to the potential risks and complications?

Plastic surgery can potentially provide psychological benefits to patients beyond just physical changes. Recent research suggests plastic surgery can improve self-esteem, body image, and overall quality of life. For example, breast reconstruction can help women who have undergone mastectomy feel more comfortable with their bodies and regain a sense of femininity. Similarly, cosmetic procedures like rhinoplasty or liposuction can improve a person's self-image and confidence.

However, it is essential to note that the psychological benefits of plastic surgery are not guaranteed and can vary from patient to patient. After plastic surgery, some patients may not experience significant self-esteem or body image changes. In contrast, others may experience adverse psychological effects such as disappointment or regret.

In addition to the potential psychological benefits, plastic surgery carries risks and possible complications that patients should know. These can include infection, bleeding, scarring, and anaesthesia risks. Additionally, there is a risk of dissatisfaction with the outcome of the procedure or the need for revision surgery.

It is crucial for patients to carefully consider both the potential benefits and risks of plastic surgery before making a decision. Patients should have realistic expectations about the procedure's outcome and discuss any concerns or questions with their surgeon. Patients should also have a support system, including family or friends, to help them through the recovery process and any emotional challenges that may arise.

Overall, plastic surgery can offer significant psychological benefits to patients struggling with physical or emotional issues related to their appearance. However, it is vital for patients to carefully weigh the potential benefits against the risks and complications before making a decision. Consulting with a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon and having open and honest communication can help patients make an informed decision that is right for them.

Photo of a beautiful woman with an orange background.

How can visual aids, such as photos or diagrams, help patients better understand the different types of plastic surgery and their potential outcomes?

Visual aids such as photos or diagrams can be beneficial for patients who are considering plastic surgery. These tools can help patients better understand the different types of plastic surgery and their potential outcomes and manage their expectations for the procedure.

Before-and-after pictures of previous patients can give patients a realistic idea of what plastic surgery can achieve and help them visualize the potential changes to their appearance. Photos can be especially effective for showing patients the results of different plastic surgery procedures. Patients can also use these photos to identify what they do and do not like about the results and use that information to communicate their goals with their surgeon.

Diagrams can also help explain the anatomy of the treated area and how a plastic surgeon will perform the procedure. For example, a breast reduction procedure schematic diagram can show patients how a plastic surgeon removes the excess tissue and reshapes the remaining tissue to create a more natural-looking breast.

Visual aids can demonstrate the potential risks and complications associated with the procedure. For example, a diagram can show the possible scarring after an operation or the areas where the patient may experience numbness or temporary loss of sensation.

In addition to photos and diagrams, some plastic surgery clinics now offer 3D simulations to help patients visualize the potential outcome of the procedure. These simulations can give patients a more accurate representation of what they can expect after the treatment and help them make a more informed decision.

Overall, visual aids can be a powerful tool for helping patients understand the different types of plastic surgery and their potential outcomes. By providing patients with clear and accurate information, visual aids can help them decide whether plastic surgery is right for them and what procedure may best achieve their goals.


This article and the information contained within it are for educational purposes only. It is not be construed or used as a medical opinion or a medical advice. This article is not intended to replace the advice of a trained, licensed medical professional in your area.


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