Plastic, cosmetic, and reconstructive surgery refers to a variety of operations performed in order to repair or restore body parts to look normal, or to change a body part to look better. Plastic surgery is a medical specialty concerned with the correction or restoration of form and function.
While famous for aesthetic surgery, plastic surgery also includes many types of reconstructive surgery, hand surgery, microsurgery, and the treatment of burns. They are characterized by careful preparation of a person's skin and tissues, by precise cutting and suturing techniques, and by care taken to minimize scarring.
Plastic surgery is usually performed to treat birth defects and to remove skin blemishes such as warts, acne scars, or birthmarks. Cosmetic surgery procedures are performed to make persons look younger or enhance their appearance in other ways. Reconstructive surgery is used to reattach body parts severed in combat or accidents, to perform skin grafts after severe burns, or to reconstruct parts of person's body that were missing at birth or removed by surgery.
Reconstructive surgery is the oldest form of plastic surgery, having developed out of the need to treat wounded soldiers in wartime.