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Plastic Surgery: Advantages and Disadvantages

Plastic Surgery: Advantages and Disadvantages 

-Cleveland Clinic

Plastic surgery is a surgical specialty involving the restoration, reconstruction or alteration of the human body. It can be divided into two main categories: reconstructive surgery and cosmetic surgery. Reconstructive surgery includes craniofacial surgery, hand surgery, microsurgery, and the treatment of burns.

Plastic surgery alters certain areas of your body to treat medical issues or enhance appearance. Surgeons might perform procedures on your face, neck, breasts, stomach, arms and legs. Reconstructive surgery repairs defects or injuries and restores function. Cosmetic surgery enhances appearance for nonmedical reasons.

What is reconstructive surgery?

Reconstructive surgery repairs defects or injuries from trauma. It also restores function and a natural-looking appearance.

You may need this type of surgery if you have:

  • Birth defects, such as webbed fingers, cleft lip and palate.
  • Burns.
  • Certain medical conditions, like head and neck cancer or breast cancer.
  • Scars that prevent natural movement.
  • Severe injuries, like cuts or tears over large areas of skin.

What is cosmetic surgery?

Cosmetic surgery enhances appearance for nonmedical reasons. This group of procedures addresses physical features that make you self-conscious. Cosmetic surgery can bring you closer to your ideal body image. This type of surgery changes features such as:

  • Shape.
  • Size.
  • Symmetry (creating more of a mirror image between two similar body parts, such as breasts).

Who performs plastic and reconstructive surgery?

Plastic surgeons perform plastic and reconstructive surgery. Surgeons from many fields perform cosmetic procedures. You may receive cosmetic surgery from a plastic surgeon, dermatologist, otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat surgeon) or others.

Selecting your healthcare provider is important. You’re more likely to experience improved outcomes from surgeons with specialized training and experience in the procedure you need. Board-certified surgeons are an ideal choice. They must pass rigorous training and examinations demonstrating their knowledge of safety and quality practices.

What are the different types of reconstructive plastic surgery?

Common types of reconstructive plastic surgery include:

Birth defect repair

  • Cleft lip and palate.
  • Congenital hand differences.
  • Craniosynostosis.
  • Hypospadias.
  • Microtia.

Breast surgery

  • Breast augmentation.
  • Breast lift (mastopexy), makes breasts firmer and raises them.
  • Breast reduction.

Face and neck procedures

  • Brow lift.
  • Cheek lift.
  • Facelift.
  • Double chin surgery.
  • Rhinoplasty.

Fat reduction and body lifts

  • Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck).
  • Body contouring.
  • Eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty).
  • Liposuction.

Gender affirmation procedures

  • Facial feminization surgery.
  • Facial masculinization surgery.
  • Female-to-male top surgery.
  • Feminizing genitoplasty.
  • Phalloplasty.

Reconstructive plastic surgery

  • Bone grafting.
  • Breast reconstruction.
  • Facial reconstruction.
  • Jaw reconstruction (orthognathic surgery).
  • Limb salvage

    What are the risks of plastic surgery?

    All surgical procedures come with risks. Plastic and reconstructive surgery procedures are often complex. They may alter sensitive structures near major organs or delicate tissue. Cosmetic procedures can make significant changes to a reas of your body that are otherwise healthy.

    The likelihood of complications depends on various factors. They include surgery type, your health history and lifestyle factors such as smoking.

    Some complications may occur during surgery, while others can develop after your recovery.

    One of the main risks is that you might not achieve the result that you were expecting.

    Other potential risks of plastic surgery include:

    • Abnormal scarring.
    • Blood clots.
    • Blood loss.
    • Complications of anesthesia, such as respiratory issues during your procedure.
    • Fluid build-up (edema).
    • Infection.
    • Nerve damage, leading to neuropathy.
    • Scarring that prevents natural movement.
    • Slow-healing wounds and incisions that take longer than expected to heal.

    What are the benefits of plastic surgery?

    For  most people, the benefits of cosmetic or reconstructive surgery outweigh the risks. There’s a lot you can gain from pursuing these procedures, including:

    • Better quality of life.
    • Enhanced body image and self-esteem.
    • Improved safety, such as seeing better after removing extra eyelid skin.
    • More natural appearance.
    • Pain relief and greater independence after correcting defects that make it difficult to move.
    • Your home recovery may include:

      • Lots of rest, not lifting anything heavy or spending limited time on your feet.
      • Changing surgical dressings regularly.
      • Eating a specific kind of diet, such as only soft foods.
      • Elevating the area where you had surgery to reduce swelling.
      • Staying home from work or school until your recovery is further along.
      • Taking stool softeners to ease constipation due to the analgesic medications.
      • Waiting a few days to take a shower or bath.

      What are the recovery expectations for people who have had plastic surgery?

      Depending on the procedure, you may feel well enough to resume regular activities in a few days. Other procedures, like a tummy tuck, can take several weeks to months to recover. Some people realize the full benefits of their procedure and are pain-free within a few weeks. For advanced procedures, such as facial feminization surgery, it can take up to a year for swelling to go down.

      In some cases, additional treatments may be part of your recovery. You may need:

      • Physical therapy to help you regain range of motion or ease stiffness.
      • Speech and swallow therapy to push past challenges with speaking and swallowing.
      • Occupational therapy to help you relearn how to perform daily activities, like getting dressed.Restored functioning, like eating solid food after recovering from jaw surgery.

        What is recovery from plastic surgery like?

        After you wake up and the anesthesia wears off, you may be able to go home. If you need to stay in the hospital, it’s typically just a night or two. Before going home, you’ll receive home-care instructions. Following them closely can lower your risk of complications.

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