Plastic Surgery: The Basics
January 6, 2017
Interview by Dr. Bharti Raizada
Report by Dr. M.v. Annalarasi
To remain beautiful is a never-ending desire in the life of humans. The field of plastic surgery has aided humans in this desire, be it to repair a defect or to enhance or reduce a part. All of these efforts are in order to please oneself and the ones human beings socialize with.
Man and these cosmetic procedures are not new to each other. The History of Plastic surgery dates to as early as 2000 B.C. One of the ancient Indian books on surgery by Sushrutha, called the Sushrutha Samhita, describes the reconstructive procedure Rhinoplasty, commonly known as the nose job. Even with so much of knowledge available online and offline about this field, some of us are still unaware of what goes on in a plastic surgical procedure.
Dr. Bharti Raizada conducted a telephonic interview with a practicing consultant, in an effort to shed light on some basic and correct facts.
Dr. Deepak Khatri, Consultant Plastic & Cosmetic Surgeon, MAE Aesthetics, based in Vadodara, India describes plastic surgery as a surgical specialty involving reconstruction, restoration, and alteration of the human body. He says it is a broad specialty with multiple subspecialties like Aesthetic surgery, Craniofacial surgery, Burns, Hand surgery, Microsurgery & Pediatric plastic surgery (dealing with congenital conditions such as cleft lip and palate, urethral defects, etc.).
When asked about the reason why this branch of surgery was called “plastics” and if there was any relation to the actual plastic, he goes on to explain that, of course, plastic was not involved and that it was derived from a Greek word “plastikos”, meaning ‘able to be moulded, pertaining to moulding’.
Dr. Deepak Khatri states that the most common surgeries people prefer are Liposuction ( removal of excess body fat to improve body shape and contour), Breast Augmentation, Rhinoplasty (nose reshaping), Hair transplant, Tummy tuck, Facelift etc.. He also states that the current trend is an increasing demand for more minimally invasive procedures, especially Botox for wrinkle reduction and Hyaluronic acid fillers for facial rejuvenation.
When asked about what the benefits were by undergoing a plastic surgery procedure, he says Improving appearance is one of the many. The other benefits according to Dr. Deepak Khatri are that the procedure helps to boost one’s self- image and overall well-being. Apart from psychological benefits he also says there are the actual physiological benefits gained like in the procedures of rhinoplasty or breast reductions etc.
A surgical procedure is never devoid of any risks. And Plastic surgery is no exception to this rule. The dependent factors of a successful surgery are the cleanliness of the hospital setup or the general health of the patient. Dr. Deepak also assents to this fact. He also states that the commonly reported complications are wound infection, hematoma, scarring and those arising out of anesthesia.
When we asked about his opinions on the popularity of the procedure in India, he opines that it is, of course, becoming a commonly performed procedure but would take some more time to become immensely popular.
The time lag to gain popularity might be connected to the fact that not all procedures are covered by insurance, a fact which is also confirmed by Dr. Deepak. Insurance only covers the reconstructive procures in cases of trauma, burns etc.
When asked about his views on who would be considered an ideal Plastic surgeon and who would be regarded an ideal patient, he goes on to state that an ideal plastic surgeon is one who has had the formal training in the specialty and holds certifications. As it is a vast specialty, it is difficult to specialize in all subspecialties. A good patient-doctor rapport is essential for better understanding of the procedure and associated risks and complication. According to him, an ideal patient for plastic surgery would be someone who has realistic expectations regarding the outcomes of the procedure. He indicates that there might be times when the surgeons are pleased with their work, but not the patient, and vice versa. He expresses that it is of course very complex to manage a dissatisfied patient. He says it requires time and patience. He observes that the failure to satisfy a patient happens more due to a failure in communication and poor patient selection than due to technical errors. It is true, there are specific indications for each of these procedures, but he advises that having realistic expectations would avoid the disparity of the opinions on the outcomes between the surgeon and the patients
The life of a Plastic surgeon is not easy. To become one, in India, one needs to undergo a 3 years post-doctoral degree course (M. Ch) after a master’s degree (M.S). Dr. Deepak says, that the qualification would not suffice and that they need to refine their skills through fellowships, attending conferences workshops etc. and keep themselves updated always.
Dr. Deepak finally signs off with a note to the public stating that Plastic surgeries/Cosmetic procedures are generally safe. The need of the hour is a better understanding of the procedure from the plastic surgeon, and being aware. If the understanding and awareness levels are satisfied, it can then bring a change into our lives.