What is Plastic Surgery?

There is much confusion about distinctions between Plastic Surgeons and Cosmetic Surgeons. Plastic surgery is a field of surgery which traditionally specialises in the reconstruction of damaged body parts. In 1589, Gaspare Tagliacozzi, a father of modern Plastic Surgery, eloquently explained the natural link between reconstructive surgery and cosmetic surgery – “we restore, repair and make whole those parts … which nature has not given or which misfortune has taken away, not so much that they may delight the eye, but that we should buoy up the spirit and help the mind of the afflicted”. Since then, it has been accepted that cosmetic surgery (also known as aesthetic surgery) is an integral part of Plastic Surgery.  Cosmetic surgeons and Cosmetic physicians are mostly GPs, dermatologists, etc. and have no surgical training.

Help for trauma victims

Every major hospital in Australia has a qualified plastic surgeon on hand to help victims of accidents. He/she has been trained in all areas of plastic and reconstructive surgery, and therefore, competent to deal with a variety of problems, from repair of facial lacerations to re-attachment of limbs and fingers, using microsurgery techniques.

Reconstruction for cancer

The most common reconstructive surgery in Australia is performed for skin cancer removal. Other cancers, such as breast cancer and cancers on the head and neck, also require reconstruction to allow sufferers to look and feel as normal as possible.

Cosmetic surgery

With the experience and knowledge derived from reconstructive surgery, plastic surgeons are skilled in techniques to enhance one’s appearance. When undertaken for sound reasons by a qualified surgeon, satisfying results can be achieved. However, sometimes dissatisfaction with one’s appearance may be due to underlying emotional or psychological disorder, which no surgery can fix.

Correction of congenital disorders

Plastic surgeons also specialise in children born with congenital defects such as cleft lips and palates, birthmarks and deformities of the hand.

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