Why is Cosmetic Surgery Called “Plastic” Surgery?

Many patients undergoing cosmetic procedures ask their surgeons and doctors the question: Why is cosmetic surgery called “plastic” surgery anyway? Plastic surgery actually doesn’t involve any plastic at all. Usually, cosmetic procedures utilize the patient’s own skin, fat and bones for reconstruction. Even modern silicone breast implants don’t use any plastic whatsoever. Plastic is actually not a hypoallergenic material and therefore cannot be used in procedures.

The Root Word of “Plastic”
The answer to this question lies mostly in the root origin of the word “plastic.” The word “plastic” is derived from the Greek word “plastikos,” which means to mold. The goal of plastic surgery is to mold and contour a person’s shape to an ideal aesthetic.

Cosmetic Surgeons VS. Plastic Surgeons
There is a difference, however, between plastic surgeons and cosmetic surgeons, though the terms can be confusing. Plastic surgeons undergo rigorous training in surgery followed by specific training in plastic surgery. This takes up to eight years of total hands-on training before one can be board-certified in plastic surgery. Every plastic surgeon at Mia Aesthetics is board-certified.

Plastic Surgery Procedures that Mold and Contour
Two procedures that are an excellent example of plastic surgery’s ability to mold and contour the body are liposuction and the Brazilian butt lift. Liposuction is a well-known and popular procedure that sculpts areas of the body with excess fat, slimming and contouring the body. It is not a tool for weight loss, as the amount of fat removed during the surgery is relatively small. But the difference in the body’s aesthetics after the procedure can be significant. The Brazilian butt lift sculpts the buttocks and adds volume using the patient’s own fat from other areas of the body. No matter the patient’s age, genetics, or other factors, butt enhancement can lift, tighten, and improve the overall appearance of the buttocks. The procedure has recently become the fastest-growing cosmetic surgery in the nation, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

In Conclusion…
So case and point: plastic surgery actually isn’t plastic at all. The term comes from the Latin root word, “plastikos,” which means to mold. Plastic surgery is really just the art of surgically molding the body into a desired aesthetic. Plastic surgeons, on the other hand, are the real deal. While they still don’t use plastic in their practices, they are highly trained and spend many years studying to earn the coveted title of plastic surgeon.