The term “Plastic Surgery” originates from the Greek word Plastikos which means to form or to mold. For centuries, mankind has sought for self-improvement in appearance. For some, this may be in the way of treating wounds or deformity as a result of traumatic injury or birth defects. Others have altered their appearance with the intent of enhancing their beauty. Achieving such results has often required repositioning or altering one’s tissues to either correct the defect or enhance one’s looks, thus the term “plastic”. Documentation of such procedures date back to 800 B.C. by ancient Indian physicians. Plastic surgery is one of the oldest of the healing arts.
Plastic surgery developed into its own specialty out of necessity. Throughout time, military physicians became innovators within their profession, treating various wounds that evolved with the evolution of warfare. It was World War I, however, that gave rise to plastic surgery as we know it today. The talented surgeons of that era were faced with some of the most horrific wounds and defects ever encountered. Not only was appearance addressed, but also the problems in functionality caused by the injury. Many of the same proven techniques developed at that time are used today with success. Plastic Surgery improves and restores both form and function.
So were does cosmetic or aesthetic surgery come into play with plastic surgery? Some of the evolving surgical techniques to treat wounds and deformities in ancient times were use to also enhance one’s appearance for beauty. The same has evolved with current plastic surgery. Similar principles and techniques used by plastic surgeons to reconstruct acquired or congenital deformities of the face and all areas of the body are used to enhance one’s appearance. Reconstructive surgery improves and restores that which is not normal. Cosmetic or aesthetic surgery enhances that which is normal. Reconstructive surgery and cosmetic surgery are both Plastic Surgery.