Plastic surgeons are surgeons specialising in the repair and reconstruction of missing or damaged skin and tissue. This may be as a result of a congenital problem, such as a cleft palate or a birthmark, because of an injury such as a burn or a car accident, or as a result of treatment for another condition like cancer. This type of surgery is sometimes called reconstructive or reparative surgery.
The term ‘plastic surgery’ is also commonly used for what is more formally known as cosmetic or aesthetic surgery, which is surgery to change someone’s appearance to achieve a more desirable look. It can also be used for functional reasons, for example, breast reduction may help with back pain.
Whether specialising in reconstructive or cosmetic surgery, such surgeons must be registered on the General Medical Council’s List of Registered Medical Practitioners. If they became an NHS consultant after 1 January 1997, they will also be registered on the Specialist register.
You may need to see a Plastic Surgeon if you have suffered from severe tissue or skin damage as a result of removed cancerous tissue, such as from the face or breast or if you have experienced extensive burns or other serious injuries. You may also wish to see a Plastic Surgeon to repair abnormalities that have been present since birth, such as cleft lip, webbed fingers, palate and birthmarks. If you believe that making physical changes to your body could help to improve your self-esteem, then you may benefit from seeing a Plastic Surgeon for cosmetic surgery.