Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Plastic surgery is a medical procedure with the purpose of alteration or restoring the form of the body. Though cosmetic or aesthetic surgery is the most well known kind of plastic surgery, plastic surgery itself is not necessarily considered cosmetic and includes many types of reconstructive surgery, craniofacial surgery, hand surgery, microsurgery, and the treatment of burns.

Reconstructive surgery

Reconstructive plastic surgery is performed to correct functional impairments caused by burns; traumatic injuries, such as facial bone fractures and breaks; congenital abnormalities, such as cleft palates or cleft lips; developmental abnormalities; infection and disease; and cancer or tumors. Reconstructive plastic surgery is usually performed to improve function, but it may be done to approximate a normal appearance.

Cosmetic surgery is an optional procedure that is performed on normal parts of the body with the only purpose of improving a person’s appearance and/or removing signs of aging.


In plastic surgery, the transfer of skin tissue (skin grafting) is a very common procedure. Skin grafts can be derived from the recipient or donors:

Autografts are taken from the recipient. If absent or deficient of natural tissue, alternatives can be cultured sheets of epithelial cells in vitro or synthetic compounds, such as integra, which consists of silicone and bovine tendon collagen with glycosaminoglycans.

Allografts are taken from a donor of the same species.

Xenografts are taken from a donor of a different species.

Usually, good results would be expected from plastic surgery that emphasize careful planning of incisions so that they fall within the line of natural skin folds or lines, appropriate choice of wound closure, use of best available suture materials, and early removal of exposed sutures so that the wound is held closed by buried sutures.