Why plastic surgery is used

Plastic surgery can be used to correct defects present from birth or to repair skin and tissue damage caused by disease, illness or injury later in life.

It can also improve a persons confidence, self-esteem and overall quality of life.

There are many different situations where plastic surgery may be needed, and avariety of surgical procedures can be used. Some of the most common reasons why it's carried out are outlined below.

Conditions present from birth

Plastic surgery can be used to correctdefects present at birth (congenital defects),including:

  • Cleft lip and palate a birth defect affecting the top lip and the roof of the mouth (palate)
  • birthmarks , including port wine stains and haemangiomas these are caused by problems with blood vessels
  • craniosynostosis a rare problem with the skull that causes a baby to be born with an abnormally shaped head
  • hypospadias the opening of the urethra in boys (the tube that carries urine out of the body) is on the underside of the penis
  • ear problems such as very small or absent ears(microtia)
  • hand problems such as havingwebbed fingers or too many or too few fingers

Conditions that develop later in life

Plastic surgery can also be used to repair and reconstruct damaged tissue caused by problems that develop later in life (acquired problems), such as:

  • cancer to repair the skin or improve appearance after the removal of cancerous tissue from places such as the breast or face
  • trauma to repair damage to tissue caused by things such as severe fractures that break the skin, or a severe wound (for example, from an animal bite )
  • infection to remove dead tissue and repair the surrounding area
  • extensive burns to repair damaged skin and improve its appearance
  • other conditions such as osteoarthritis , rheumatoid arthritis , carpal tunnel syndrome , pressure ulcers , Dupuytren's contracture andfacial palsy (such as Bell's palsy )
Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 28 Nov 2016