Nowadays surgery has developed so far that the body of knowledge and technical skills required have given surgeons the novelty to specialise in a specific area: either an anatomical area or occasionally a particular technique or even patient!
Plastic surgery is typically divided into two, performing different functions. The first is reconstructive surgery which is concerned with restoring both function and appearance to the human body after illness or an accident. The second is called aesthetic surgery, commonly known as cosmetic surgery, and its sole purpose is to change appearance from choice.
Most consultants will specialise in a certain area, although a lot of the time they will take part in an on-call rota that will see them dealing with a vast array of emergencies, such as soft tissue, limb injuries and burns.
Plastic surgeons will support the work of other surgeons, dealing with wounds from accidents or after surgical procedures. A lot of reconstructive work is required after some major operations and it is the refinement of plastic surgical techniques that have led to advances in other areas of surgery in general.
Below are some basic procedures of plastic and cosmetic surgery and why they would be performed:
Congenital - treatments for cleft lip and palate, facial and ear deformities
Breast surgery - reconstruction after cancer, congenital anomalies and cosmetic enhancement
Skin - if the skin is benign or malignant
Trauma - reconstructive repair of facial trauma or limb trauma, such as open fractures or burns
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