Why Is It Called Plastic Surgery? Let’s Find Out!

Have you ever wondered why plastic surgery is called “plastic surgery”? The use of plastic materials in breast implants has nothing to do with it, as is commonly believed.

Plastic surgery is called so because the term “plastic” comes from the Greek word “plastikos,” meaning to mold or shape something. It refers to the surgical ability to mold or reshape body tissues for cosmetic or reconstructive purposes. It has no connection to the use of plastic materials.

The term “plastic surgery” was actually coined in 1798, long before the development of modern breast implants in the 1960s. In this article, we will delve into the origins of the term and explore the true meaning behind it.

Origins of Plastic Surgery

Origins of Plastic Surgery
source: edition.cnn.com

Contrary to popular belief, plastic surgery has nothing to do with the synthetic polymer known as plastic.

Carl Ferdinand von Graefe coined the term plastic surgery in 1818 to describe molding or reshaping body tissues.However, the practice of reconstructive surgery dates back even further, with evidence of nose reconstruction techniques in ancient India around 2000 B.C.

Reconstructive surgery and plastic surgery are often confused, but they serve different purposes. Reconstructive surgery aims to correct injuries or deformities while plastic surgery aims to enhance aesthetic appearance.

In simple terms, plastic surgery is for cosmetic reasons, like getting a facelift to tighten sagging skin. On the other hand, reconstructive surgery is necessary for individuals who have experienced facial disfigurement due to conditions such as skin cancer.

Understanding the difference between plastic surgery and reconstructive surgery can help people make informed decisions.

Here’s more: You might want to read the plastic surgery efforts of Karol G Plastic and Freya Allan

The Difference Between Cosmetic Surgery & Plastic Surgery

The Difference Between Cosmetic Surgery & Plastic Surgery
source: lybrate.com
Cosmetic Surgery Plastic Surgery
Focus Aesthetic enhancements Reconstruction or restoration
Purpose Improving appearance or self-esteem Correcting birth defects, injuries, or abnormalities
Procedures Rhinoplasty, breast augmentation, etc. Breast reconstruction, cleft palate repair, etc.
Patient Elective procedures Medical necessity or choice for functional reasons
Insurance Coverage Usually not covered by insurance Sometimes covered by insurance for medical reasons
Surgeon Specialty Cosmetic surgeon Plastic surgeon
Training Focus on aesthetics Extensive training in surgical techniques 

Are Plastic Surgeons & Cosmetic Surgeons Equally Qualified?

Plastic Surgeons Cosmetic Surgeons
– Extensive training in surgery and plastic surgery, up to eight years May come from various medical backgrounds
– Acquire expertise in reconstructive and aesthetic procedures May have different levels of training
– Board-certified Not specified
– Specialized in both reconstructive and aesthetic procedures May not have the same level of specialized training and expertise in complex surgical procedures
– Recommended for complex reconstruction or significant changes to the body Consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon is important for optimal results and patient safety

Read More: Rez Made in Chelsea plastic surgery: Unraveling His Flawless Face

How Do I Know I Need a Plastic Surgeon Or Cosmetic Surgeon?

To determine whether you need a plastic surgeon or a cosmetic surgeon, consider the nature of your concern. If you have a medical condition or require reconstruction due to trauma or illness, a plastic surgeon is the appropriate choice.

Plastic surgeons are trained to address functional issues and restore form and function.
Cosmetic surgeons offer aesthetic enhancements or non-medical procedures like facelifts and breast augmentations.

It is important to research the qualifications and credentials of any surgeon you are considering. A board-certified plastic surgeon has met rigorous training and competency standards, making him or her a good choice.

You should consult with a qualified surgeon to discuss your goals, understand your options, and make an informed decision.


In conclusion, plastic surgery derives its name from the Latin root word “plastikos,” meaning to mold, rather than the use of plastic materials. Plastic surgeons are skilled professionals who shape and mold the body to achieve desired aesthetics.

Although the term may be misleading, it has become ingrained in the field due to tradition and history. Plastic surgery will continue to be a prominent discipline in the future.

Read Next: Wayne Gretzky Plastic Surgery: How He Achieved His Ageless Face?

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