Cosmetic Surgeon - Surgery Types


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Plastic surgeons must train as a general medical professional for the usual amount of time, in the UK and commonly throughout the rest of the world this period lasts around six years. Once they are qualified the professional will choose plastic surgery to be their adopted specialism, usually operating from private clinics or surgeries which sometimes have close links with the NHS in the UK.

Cosmetic or Aesthetic surgery

This is the type of surgeon or surgery most commonly associated with the term ‘plastic surgeon’. These surgeons perform operations and procedures which are intended to enhance the appearance of a person according to the general social conventions of body image. The work they do includes all non-essential and purely aesthetic procedures such as: face lifts; breast augmentations; and chemical peels, to name just a few. The work they do can have a dramatic impact on self-esteem and the sense of the self-worth, but does not constitute any health benefits to the patient receiving treatment. This type of surgeon or surgery is not generally available on the NHS, although you may find that some practices have close links with NHS practices, and that you may be able to be referred to a specialist plastic surgeon through the NHS system.

Craniofacial surgery

This type of plastic surgery is based around operations on the face and skull, and is generally divided into paediatric or child craniofacial surgery and adult craniofacial surgery. It is often freely available on the NHS as its purpose is to improve the health and well-being of the patients, who are diagnosed with suffering from impairments in these regions, but it is also a basic element to cosmetic surgery, and all cosmetic or aesthetic surgeons will be familiar with the treatments and procedures below.

Paediatric Craniofacial surgery

Paediatric craniofacial surgery is usually concerned with the treatment of congenital deformities or irregularities which around the face and cranium. This may include: cleft lip; paediatric fractures and craniosynostosis.

Adult craniofacial surgery

Adult craniofacial surgery tends to deal with facial or cranial distortions due to trauma or injury, including fractures, orbital reconstruction and orthognathic surgery.

Orbital reconstruction

Orbital reconstruction is surgery that involves rebuilding the part of the cranium around the eye, such as the muscles that move the eye and the eye sockets themselves.

Orthognathic surgery

Orthognathic surgery is any and all operations concerned with the jaw and face, such as procedures for TMJ, (temporomandibular joint disorder, which refers to any pain experienced in the movement of the joint at the base of the jaw, which might be due to asymmetric or unbalanced joints or a congenital defect) sleep apnoea and serious orthodontic (surgical dentistry) procedures which cannot be corrected using conventional dentistry, such as braces.

Plastic surgery for burns

Once the trauma of a burn has been inflicted, you will be immediately treated for severe burns with emergency surgery. The priority of this surgery is health preservation and the retention of as much healthy skin tissue as possible. Once this type of burn surgery is completed you will likely be moved onto reconstructive burn surgery, which can involve a long and complex process. The treatments might include skin grafts as well as a variety of skin enhancement treatments such as dermal fillers or laser treatments. This is often available free on the NHS for severe burn victims, although it is also available privately for those who cannot access treatment via the NHS or those who prefer to seek expertise from outside this system.


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