Ask a Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon: Why is Cosmetic Surgery Called Plastic Surgery?

If you have been wondering why people refer to cosmetic surgery as “plastic surgery,” you are not the only one. The nickname is rather amusing for a surgical procedure that aids individuals defy aging effects. Knowing the origin of the name will give you more information as you go in for an appointment with your cosmetic plastic surgeon, as well as make you wiser.

First, “plastic” is derived from “plasticos,” a Greek word. The word means molding or shaping, which is what cosmetic surgery does. Cosmetic surgery is a procedure done on your face or any other body part to remove imperfections.

The Roots

Cosmetic surgery goes back several centuries. Ancient Indians used skin grafts for the reconstruction of parts of the human body. In war, the Romans chose cosmetic surgery as a means of repairing damaged ears of soldiers. The operation was also popular in other wars including World War I.

The Advancement

Due to the effectiveness of plastic surgery in wartime, doctors realized that the procedure could be carried out on individuals who needed to change certain aspects of their appearance. It is during this time that the obsession with cosmetic surgery was born. Celebrities were among the first patients of cosmetic surgery since they age like everyone else yet the public does not want to see them age.

Today, anybody can have plastic surgery done, and it will not look like they have had it. At the same time, technology has been adopted into the industry, meaning that cosmetic surgery procedures that would have cost tens of thousands a few years ago now cost a quarter of that.

The Heritage

Cosmetic surgery has become a product enjoyed by many. The procedures can cost quite a lot, but the results are worth every dollar spent. Innovative advancements in technology have also helped to decrease the healing time, and scarring and bruising are minimized.

The next time someone asks you why cosmetic surgery is known as “plastic” surgery, you can confidently tell him or her that the process involves no plastic. The only plastic involved is in the utensils.

Dr. David K. Hiranaka, M.D., D.M.D. is a cosmetic plastic surgeon dedicated to offering maxillofacial, facial plastic and reconstructive surgery.

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