Plastic surgery is the branch of surgery specialising in repairing and reconstructing missing or damaged tissue and skin, usuallybecause of surgery, illness, injury or an abnormality present from birth.
The main aim of plastic surgery is to restore the function of tissues and skin to as close to normal as possible. Improving the appearance of body parts is an important, but secondary, aim.
Plastic surgery is different to cosmetic surgery, which is surgery carried out solely to change a healthy persons appearance to achieve what they feel is a more desirable look. There are separate pages on cosmetic surgery .
Plastic surgery can be used to repair:
Plastic surgery can also help a person recover their self-esteem and confidence following surgery.
However, availability can vary around the country and is determined by local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).
Plastic surgery is performed by plastic surgeons with extensive training who belong to professional associations, such as the British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) .
Most people are referred to NHS plastic surgeons by their GP or a specialist consultant they see about their condition.
Plastic surgery is also available privately, but can be very expensive. It's still a good idea to speak to your GP or specialist first if you're considering private treatment, even if a referral isn't required.
Plastic surgery uses a wide range of reconstructive techniques, but the main ones are:
As well as these main techniques, plastic surgeons use a wide range of other methods, such as fat transfer or grafting (where fat is removed from one area and inserted in another area, usually to correct unevenness), vacuum closure (where suction is applied to a wound through a sterile piece of foam to draw out fluid and encourage healing), camouflage make-up or cream, and prosthetic devices, such as artificial limbs.
The degree of risk will depend on a number of factors, including whether the surgery is to a small or large area of tissue and the overall health of the person having the procedure.
Some procedures carry specific risks, but general risks include:
Plastic surgery is the branch of surgery specialising in repairing and reconstructing missing or damaged tissue and skin.
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.
Plastic surgery can involve a number of different techniques to move and manipulate body tissue.