What is Plastic Surgery? Why the word Plastic?

I frequently get asked about why plastic surgery has the word “plastic” in it. Dr. Wu had written an article about the noble medical profession of Plastic Surgery. I think it was earmarked for Contentment Health Magazine – which it never got published to my knowledge, but I can’t seem to find it at the moment. So here’s my definition.

I love this quote about plastic surgery written by Gaspare Tagliacozzi in 1597:
“We restore, repair, and make whole those parts…which fortune has taken away, not so much that they may delight the eye, but that they may buoy up the spirit and help the mind of the afflicted.”

I work at Surgical Artistry because it is my passion to lift up the spirit, confidence, and health of my patients. And I like to do it one person at a time. Patients come to me with a spark of motivation to use Botox to erase a wrinkle (or Botox for a painful muscle trigger / migraine), then the interest evolves into skin health and then ultimately total body health which includes a whole food plant based diet.

The term plastic means to mold, and is from the Greek word “plastikos”. It was first used to describe a specialty of surgery in 1837 – this was over 75 years before the invention of plastic bottles. Thus Plastic Surgery came before the material called “plastic.” I can see how the public gets confused and think that plastic surgery is all about putting in plastic materials into patients. But it’s not that simple. Both Plastic Surgery and Plastic Bottles got the word “plastic” for the meaning “to be mold-able.”

Today plastic surgery encompasses cosmetic surgery, reconstructive surgery after cancer surgeries and traumatic accidents, HAND surgery, microsurgery, BURN intensive care, craniofacial surgery to fix birth defects like cleft lips, and branches of transplant surgery.

And I love this picture of my wife and I working together. This is what we do everyday at Surgical Artistry.