Thursday, March 5, 2009

What is Plastic Surgery?

by Dr. Diane Gibby • M.D., P.A., F.A.C.S

Plastic surgery can enhance your appearance subtly or significantly, and with it, your entire self-image. It can help make your features more youthful-looking or improve the appearance of normal body features. The word "plastic" comes from the Greek word plasticos, which means to mold or give form. The specialty of plastic surgery involves two areas: cosmetic surgery and reconstructive surgery. Cosmetic surgery enhances the attractiveness of your features. Reconstructive surgery minimizes disfigurement and improves or restores physical functions that may have been impaired because of birth defects, injury, or disease.

Your expectations for surgery should be realistic. Plastic surgery may renew your self-confidence but will not guarantee happiness. You must have a strong personal desire to make such a change-both physically and mentally. Dr. Gibby will fully discuss the improvements you desire and explain what is possible with surgery so that your goals are clear. This will help you evaluate surgery in terms of how well it satisfies your needs.

Some Important Considerations

As with any surgery, the quality of the result is based on the expertise of the surgeon. It is extremely important to select a surgeon whose skills are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Board certification means that the surgeon's training includes both medical and approved plastic surgical training and that the candidate has passed extensive written and oral examinations in the Plastic Surgery specialty. While any physician who holds a medical license can practice plastic surgery-even without surgical training-board certification ensures the highest level of expertise. Membership in the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons (ASPRS) is another important factor.

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