Plastic surgery is the branch of surgery specialising in repairing and reconstructing missing or damaged tissue and skin, usually because 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 person’s appearance to achieve what they feel is a more desirable look. There are separate pages on cosmetic surgery.
When plastic surgery is used
Plastic surgery can be used to repair:
- abnormalities that have existed from birth, such as a cleft lip and palate, webbed fingers and birthmarks
- areas damaged by the removal of cancerous tissue, such as from the face or breast
- extensive burns or other serious injuries, such as those sustained during traffic accidents
Plastic surgery can also help a person recover their self-esteem and confidence following surgery.