Plastic surgery is an art of changing form. Form comes from the Greek word "plastikos." It involves changes in physical form and a program in wellness. Plastic surgery is composed of four different categories which are briefly described in the following paragraphs.

Correction of Birth Defects - Pediatric Plastic Surgery

Birth defects include cleft lip, cleft palate, cleft lip-nose deformity, orbital deformities, intractable plagiocephaly or deformational molding problem, cleft ears, etc. These more common birth defects can be corrected through plastic surgical techniques which alter the structural and skeletal configuration.

Repair of Traumatic Deformities

Plastic surgeryís role in the repair or traumatic deformities is to restore the structural integrity and functional activity to the area that has been injured. This can involve the use of skin grafts, bone grafts, and implantable biomaterials including silicone. Metallic biomaterials such as vitalium and titanium are also used extensively to repair and fixate fractures of the facial skeleton and to correct other defects caused by trauma.

Reconstruction of Post-Oncological Abnormalities

The majority of abnormalities that arise from cancer resection can be corrected. These abnormalities can result from mastectomy while other structural defects can be precipitated by tumor removal. Various techniques such as distraction (a process to regenerate bone) and the use of tissue expanders has made reconstruction a viable option for patients with post-oncological abnormalities.

Aesthetic Surgery

Aesthetic plastic surgery is a major component of the practice of plastic surgery. Face-lift, suction lipoplasty, endoscopic dissection, and the use of the laser for photothermolysis are all measures designed to improve a patientís self-image.