Plastic, Reconstructive, Cosmetic and Hand Surgery

Plastic Surgery

Plastic, reconstructive and cosmetic surgery refers to surgery of the skin and of its underlying structures in any part of the body, whether in relation to congenital, acquired, or post-traumatic problems, or to problems connected with ageing. It restores and corrects the external form of the body – including that of the face and hand – and provides for functional recovery. Cosmetic surgery is an integral part of this speciality.

The Skin

he skin is the body’s most extensive organ. This organ has several functions, which include:

  • Its role as a barrier and protection for the body in relation to external aggression, e.g. from germs.
  • Its role as a sensory receiver: our skin tells us about our external environment, including its temperature, its texture, its level of humidity.
  • Its role as a thermal regulator: when the outside temperature is hot, the skin acts as a radiator which cools us down by dilating its blood vessels and losing sweat; when the outside temperature is cold, it closes down the blood vessels to prevent the blood from cooling down under the influence of the external environment.
  • Its role as an energy reserve, through subcutaneous fat.
  • Its role in our social relationships, in that it is the visible ‘packaging’ of our physical presence that other people can see.

The skin is a vital organ: if a large area of it is destroyed, the patient will die unless he/she receives treatment. This is the case, for example, when someone suffers extensive burns.

As with the other organs of the body, there are doctors and surgeons for whom the skin represents their specialist domain. Doctors who specialise in treating skin conditions are called dermatologists.

Surgeons who specialise in treating skin conditions are called plastic surgeons. As well as working on the skin, their area of expertise covers non-visceral soft tissue (fat, muscles, tendons, aponeuroses, blood vessels and peripheral nerves).