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What is plastic surgery?

What is plastic surgery?Is it all about getting the perfect nose or a smaller stomach? Read on to find out about the role of plastic surgery in the NHS.

Although cosmetic surgery is the best-known kind of plastic surgery, it isn't the most common. Most plastic surgery is to correct problems caused by birth defects, accidents and other causes.

The surgical specialism of plastic surgery covers a wide field of reconstructive and reparative surgery. It can be divided into the following sub-specialisms:

  • Congenital: Cleft lip and palate and other facial deformities; craniofacial defects; hypospadias and other genito-urinary anomalies; congenital skin conditions.
  • Trauma: Facial trauma; lower limb trauma; burn injury.
  • Neoplasms: Malignant tumours of skin; benign skin lesions; head and neck cancer; breast reconstruction following cancer treatments; reconstruction after other cancer treatment.
  • Hand surgery: Treatment of congenital hand abnormalities; primary and secondary repair of injuries to the hand and upper limb; treatment of degenerative hand disease.
  • Other conditions requiring surgery: Reconstruction of large defects; pressure sores and other chronic wounds; venous and other leg ulcers.
  • Aesthetic surgery: Certain major aspects of disfigurement are treated if they cause physical or psychological problems.
  • Collaborative surgery: Plastic surgeons often work with other medical and surgical specialists, they sometimes hold joint clinics with oncologists, dermatologists, rheumatologists and other medical disciplines.

Plastic surgeons often work closely with colleagues in orthopaedic surgery, ear nose and throat surgery, maxillofacial surgery, neurosurgery and general surgery. They do this to provide multi-disciplinary care to the patient.

Could you be a plastic surgeon?

Plastic surgery has been at the forefront in the development of many new techniques and is now at the cutting edge of research in the surgical management of patients. Basic scientific and clinical research is encouraged and trainee surgeons with inquiring minds will find a wealth of potential research projects within the field of plastic and reconstructive surgery.

Since few procedures in plastic surgery are identical, the work is stimulating, challenging, exciting and encourages innovation.

Personal qualities should include:

  • An inquiring mind and ability to think laterally
  • High level of manual dexterity and technical skill
  • Understanding of the principles of audit and evidence based medicine
  • Evidence of interest in teaching

Related links

(Information taken from NHS Careers)