The Scope of Plastic Surgery

Plastic Surgery deals with the repair, reconstruction or replacement of physical defects in any form or function involving the skin, muscoskeletal system, crane-maxilofacial structures, hand, extremities, breast and trunk and external genitalia. It uses aesthetic surgical principles not only to improve undesirable qualities of normal structures, but in all reconstruction procedures as well.

Special knowledge and skill in the design and surgery of grafts, flaps, free tissue transfer and re-plantation is necessary. Competence in the management of complex wounds, the use of implacable materials and in tumor surgery is required. Plastic Surgery has been prominent in the development of innovative technologies such as microvascular and crania-maxiliofacial surgery, liposuction, and tissue transfer. The foundation of surgical anatomy, physiology, pathology and other basic sciences is fundamental to this specialty.

Competency in plastic surgery implies a special combination of basic knowledge, surgical judgement, technical expertise, ethics, and interpersonal skills in order to achieve satisfactory patient relationships and problem resolution.

Plastic surgery procedures generally fall into one of two categories, reconstructive or cosmetic. Sometimes the overlap between reconstructive and cosmetic surgery leads to confusion. For example, similar techniques may be utilized for reconstruction of nasal deformity after trauma (reconstructive rhinoplasty) as well as for cosmetic alteration of a normal nose (cosmetic rhinoplasty). The technique and procedural coding may be the same, but the reason for surgery is the key factor to be considered in determining whether the procedure is reconstructive or cosmetic.