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The “Plastic” in Plastic Surgery

Posted December 12, 2013 in Breast Augmentation, Breast Reduction, Breast Surgery, Liposuction, Tummy Tuck

It is a common misconception that the word “plastic” in “plastic surgery” means synthetic or fake. Some people believe it is used because plastic surgeons place breast implants which they think are plastic (they are actually made of silicone gel and rubber).  According to an article published by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons titled, “History of Plastic Surgery,” the “plastic” referred to in the name of this medical specialty is actually derived from the ancient Greek word plastikos, meaning to mold or give form to. Plastic surgery involves procedures that alter the body and face for reconstructive, as well as aesthetic purposes, and these two subspecialties sculpt the physical form for specific purposes.

Reconstructive plastic surgery is performed in order to restore form and/or function to the head and body.  Cosmetic or aesthetic plastic surgery is performed to achieve a more desirable appearance. A person may need reconstructive surgery due to injury, congenital defects, developmental abnormalities, infection, tumors, or disease. Cosmetic surgery is performed to improve the face or body from changes due to such factors as aging, weight loss and pregnancy.  The goals of both cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery are generally to improve or enhance the patient’s face or body while still maintaining a natural appearance.

Although some plastic surgery procedures, such as breast augmentation, may involve the insertion of synthetic implants, many procedures do not involve any type of foreign material placed in the body. Some procedures eliminate tissue from the body for a more desirable shape, such as liposuction, tummy tuck surgery, and breast reduction. Nose surgery, technically known as “rhinoplasty,” is one of the oldest forms of plastic surgery and reshapes the nose, at times,  using cartilage taken from another area of the body. So, while some people may associate the term ‘plastic surgery’ with something artificial, most plastic surgery procedures actually provide patients with a more natural and beautiful appearance.

It is always important to choose a qualified, board-certified plastic surgeon when undergoing any plastic surgery procedure in order to achieve the best, natural-looking results and have a safe surgery. I am board certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) and have extensive experience performing a variety of plastic surgery procedures. To learn more about the plastic surgery procedures offered at my Arizona practice and to see if you may be a candidate, please call (480) 890-0600 or fill out our online contact form to schedule your consultation.

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Dr. Spies is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and highly experienced in breast lift surgery for over 35 years. If interested in undergoing this procedure, please feel free to call 480-359-1019 to schedule a consultation.

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Dr. Spies' office is located in Paradise Valley, Arizona just adjacent to the Paradise Valley Cosmetic Surgery Center


Robert J. Spies, M.D.
5410 N Scottsdale Rd C 100
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253
Tel: 480-359-1019