Plastic surgery is often thought to refer to 'plastic' implants that are used for procedures such as breast augmentation, but in fact the word comes from the Greek 'plastike' which means the 'art of modelling' and is more closely linked to plasticine or play-dough than plastic!
Plastic surgery is actually an ancient art, having been practised in India since 800BC. Ancient Egyptians and Romans also dabbled in the art of re constructive surgery, repairing ears and correcting noses damaged by war or accident. It is during times of war that medical science makes some of its largest advances and the field of plastic surgery is no different. Doctors were given plenty of test subjects on which to practice as soldiers returned from the battlefield bearing horrific injuries to faces and limbs. As with all things, the procedures and processes improved with practice, until plastic surgeons were able to perform even delicate facial surgery without leaving scars or distortions on the patient's face.
Plastic surgery is now a fine art with multiple procedures able to be performed at the same time, allowing a frumpy, wrinkled middle-aged person to drop ten or twenty years in a week or so! Chin implants can firm and lengthen a jawline, eyelid lifts can take care of ageing saggy excess skin and a face lift can erase wrinkles and fine lines from around the eyes and mouth.
Before any operation is performed the patient should sit with the surgeon and discuss every aspect of care before and after surgery. The doctor should be comfortable with explaining exactly what he or she is going to do, and must give the patient a good idea of what to expect when he or she wakes up. Recovery time should be mentioned and the patient must adhere to the surgeon's guidelines as far as possible. Eating healthily, changing dressings appropriately and even doing any exercises to encourage the flow of blood to the area to aid healing are highly recommended – the surgeon will provide an after-care sheet with all his recommendations and instructions laid out.
Before surgery it is a requirement that the surgeon assesses each patient to ensure that there is no psychological vulnerability driving the desire for the surgery. He or she must also make it clear to the patient that surgery is not a magic wand, it will only work on the body part being operated on! If the patient expresses a desire to remould his or her entire body, that may be treated as a warning sign and the surgeon may recommend a psychiatric consultation to avoid any issues later on.
- Plastic surgeons have become very skilled at improving the appearance of even very delicate parts
- Patients must fully understand what the surgery entails and have reasonable expectations of the improvement in the area
- Surgeries have 'fashions', at present beautifully toned arms are in vogue!