Patient Care

This information is intended for those who have general questions about plastic surgery. It includes answers on what types of procedures plastic surgeons perform, how plastic surgery fits into medical care, and how plastic surgeons are trained. For more information on plastic surgery, browse through our articles on our site. To have your specific plastic surgery questions answered, schedule a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon.

What is plastic surgery?

Plastic surgery refers to the Greek term “plastikos,” which means to mold or take form. In a nutshell, plastic surgery is used to restore and reshape the body. It involves both reconstructive surgery procedures (i.e., abnormal structures to the body and birth defects) and developmental problems (i.e., injuries, infections, tumors, or disease).

What is a plastic surgeon?

A board-certified plastic surgeon is a trained doctor that is a problem solver, art-designer, and meticulous surgeon. Not every plastic surgeon who claims to be a “plastic surgeon” has the same training.

Locating a board-certified plastic surgeon:

For a list of names of plastic surgeons are in your area and are board-certified, you may call the Plastic Surgery Information Service, 1-888-4-PLASTIC.

Cases where a plastic surgeon is consulted:

There are many cases in which a plastic surgeon is called upon for special care. Such cases include are birth defects or emergency cases (i.e. facial lacerations, burns, trauma, and bite wounds). Other cases include: hand surgery, microsurgery, and craniofacial and maxillofacial surgery.

Insurance coverage on plastic surgery:

Some reconstructive surgery is covered by most health insurances, although different carriers vary. Cosmetic surgery is not covered by medical insurance.

What other doctors are involved in plastic surgery?

In most cases, a plastic surgeon works in a team with other types of doctors (i.e. practice physicians, general surgeons, pediatricians, oncologists, neurosurgeons), depending on a case by case basis.

What is the purpose of a consultation?

A consultation gives you a chance to find out if you like the plastic surgeon and feel comfortable with him/her. This is an opportunity for you to attain all the information you need; the surgeon will explain the procedure in detail, the risks involved, and the results you should expect. This can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.

How can I predict results post-surgery?

Depending on your age, skin type, general health, genetic background, and the condition you were in pre-surgery, results may vary. During an initial consultation at the Women’s Institute of Cosmetic & Laser Surgery, a plastic surgeon can help you determine what factors will affect your results.

What type of anesthesia does a plastic surgeon use?

Depending on the surgery being performed, there are three types of anesthesia used in plastic surgery: local, local injection plus sedation and general.

Where can plastic surgery procedures be performed?

A plastic surgery procedure can be performed in different types of facilities (i.e. an in-office surgical facility, a hospital, or a freestanding surgery center), depending on the severity of the surgical procedure and what the plastic surgeon recommends.

Problems commonly treated by plastic surgeons:

Cosmetic concerns (i.e., excess body fat, disproportionate breasts, skin problems- wrinkling and sun damage, hair loss, facial features to improve, etc.)

Birth defects and developmental abnormalities (i.e., birth marks, cleft lips, hand deformities, abnormal breast development, skull and facial deformities, etc.)

Acquired deformities (i.e., scars, wounds, burn scars, skull and jaw injuries, drooping brow or upper eyelid, lacerations, severed limbs or fingers, etc.)

Procedures that may be covered by insurance:

  • Abdominal surgery: To correct back pain, sores, rashes, and hernia or correct ability to walk
  • Breast surgery: To correct asymmetry, reduce overly large breasts, correct a mastectomy, reduce male breasts, etc.
  • Ear surgery: To correct overly-large ears or reconstruct ears
  • Eyelid surgery: To correct drooping eyelids that are affecting vision or to correct out-turned or in-turned eyelids
  • Facial Surgery: To correct head and neck deformities, correct facial paralysis, treat conditions affecting muscles, etc.
  • Hand surgery: To treat carpal tunnel, tendon and nerve injuries, other deformities
  • Nasal surgery: To correct problems from birth defects or other deformities that affect breathing


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