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  1. Plastic surgery is the field of surgery that addresses congenital and acquired defects, striving to return form and function.

  2. Plastic surgery has been a field of innovation. The future of the specialty likely includes advancements in the areas of regenerative medicine, fetal surgery, and reconstructive transplantation with composite tissue allotransplants.

  3. Children diagnosed with cleft and craniofacial anomalies benefit from interdisciplinary care at a specialized center focusing on team care. Long-term follow-up during growth and development is critical for optimal outcomes.

  4. Reconstructive surgery attempts to restore form and function through techniques that include skin grafting, use of muscle flaps, bone grafting, tissue expansion, free tissue transfer with microsurgery, and replantation.

  5. Aesthetic surgery is surgery performed to reshape the normal structure of the body to improve the patient’s appearance and self-esteem. Patients undergoing aesthetic surgery present a unique challenge. The most important outcome parameter is patient satisfaction, and therefore, a thorough understanding of the patient’s motivations, goals, and expectations is critical.


The field of plastic surgery focuses on the restoration of form and function to those who have congenital and acquired deformities. Plastic surgery routinely addresses novel problems and challenges; therefore, the plastic surgeon must have an expert knowledge of anatomy and surgical technique to address new challenges.

The word plastic is derived from the Greek plastikos, meaning “to mold.” Although the term plastic surgery can be found in several medical writings from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it was John Staige Davis who established the name of the specialty with the 1919 publication Plastic ­Surgery—Its Principles and Practice.

One of the earliest accounts of reconstructive surgery can be found in the Sushruta Samhita, an early text from the sixth or seventh century b.c. by the practitioner Sushruta. In this writing, the reconstruction of an amputated nose with a pedicled forehead flap and the reconstruction of the ear with cheek flaps were described. In addition, in the first century a.d., the Roman physicians Aulus Cornelius Celsus and Paulus Aegineta described operations for facial reconstruction.

The first textbook of plastic surgery is believed to be Gaspara Tagliacozzi’s 1597 publication De Curtorum Chirurgia per Insitionem. This text describes the reconstruction of the nose with a pedicled arm flap. The nineteenth century saw advances in reconstructive surgery, including Giuseppe Baronio’s successful grafting of sheepskin. The techniques for perfecting human skin grafting followed later in the nineteenth century.

Great advances in plastic surgery occurred as a result of the first and second world wars. Out of the fields of dental surgery, otolaryngology, ophthalmology, and general surgery, the discipline of plastic surgery was established. The founders of the field include Sir Harold Gillies, an otolaryngologist who established a center for the treatment of maxillofacial injuries in England; V. H. Kazanjian, a dental surgeon from Boston, who established a center ...

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