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Why is your Specialty Called Plastic Surgery?

By March 20, 2024No Comments

The name of our specialty was derived from the Greek word “plastikos”, which means capable of being molded or shaped. Plastic Surgery, by definition, is surgery to repair, restore, or improve lost, injured, aged, defective, or misshapen body parts. What the layperson usually perceives as plastic surgery is usually related to cosmetic surgery. This is an integral part of the Plastic Surgery specialty, and some plastic surgeons specialize in cosmetic surgery, but other may specialize in other branches of the specialty such as taking care of birth defects, reconstructing body parts or repairing large holes resulting from cancer surgery or trauma, taking care of burn victims or doing hand surgery! It is true that implants are used for breasts, chins and other body parts, but most plastic surgical procedures rely on a reshaping or repositioning of your own tissues to achieve the desired result.

By definition, a plastic surgeon is one who does plastic surgery. But much confusion exists today because many physicians who call themselves plastic surgeons have not been trained in plastic surgery residencies, and indeed, some are not even surgeons! The American Board of Plastic Surgery is the only board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties to certify a surgeon in plastic and reconstructive surgery of the face and entire body. Many doctors doing “plastic surgery” are indeed Board Certified but in specialties such as Otolaryngology (Ears Nose and Throat) or in Internal Medical specialties such as Dermatology. Because they do not have the training to be called Board Certified Plastic Surgeons, many have joined “Boards” such as the Cosmetic Surgery Board, which are not recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialists.

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