While the sub specialty of medicine known as Plastic Surgery (one of the 22 recognized specialties of medicine) is now so incredibly common, there are few who wouldn’t know what it really is. But yet, I am going to occasionally get asked this question by a brand new patient throughout our consultation…’now tell me where the plastic goes’…or…’will the plastic utilized in the surgery get contaminated?’ Signaling that some still consider the name ‘plastic’ in Plastic Surgery links to your material and that plastic surgery operations involve placing in plastic substances.
While the schedules of improvement for both Plastic Surgery and plastic substances are similar, there’s no direct connection between the two. Because it used plastic materials in surgery, it was not given its name. The Greek term, ‘plastikos’, which indicates to mould, shape, or give type to is the meaning behind the appointment of the medical specialization Plastic Surgery.
And this is certainly an accurate description of what Plastic Surgeons do…cut, shape, and mould tissues to give human physique parts recognizable forms whether it’s for reconstructive purposes or for cosmetic alterations. Plastic Surgery formed itself into a formal society in 1931 together with the foundation of the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, recently condensed to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. The first formal training program of it’s began several years earlier in 1924 with the establishment of the primary plastic surgery residency at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. Formal board certification in this began in 1937 which drastically raised the standards for the specialization.
Plastic stuff developed right around the same time frame as Plastic Surgery. The earliest true thermosetting plastics had their start in the late 1800s with the successful product called Bakelite introduced in Britain. But DuPont with its polyamide (nylon 66) plastic in the 30’s popularized the material within the United States. New plastics followed promptly such as polystyrene and polymethyl methacrylate. (acrylic).
All these plastic substances become immensely popular and necessary during World War Two as elements of numerous military products for example radar units and aircraft canopies. And here is where Plastic Surgery and plastic substances share yet another likeness…their advancement was propelled by warfare, WWI and WWII. Military conflicts and the dependence on private protection (plastic materials) and in treating their war-related harms (Plastic Surgery) functioned as a trigger for both of their developments.
A closing sidenote of both of their pre-WWII history is the fact that they similarly converged to cope with an increasing difficulty in the 1930s…motor vehicle injuries. Thus did car accidents and traumas from the shattering of glass windshields, as cars became more common. Most commonly, severe facial lacerations resulted at that time from windshields. Anxiety was expressed by plastic surgeons about that issue and these attempts, spurned on makers, for example DuPont to produce shatterproof windshields.
As Plastic Surgery performs several hundreds of operations that were distinct from your face and throughout the human body very few have ever actually demanded plastic materials to make the operation successful. While facial and breast implants, which are quite common and popular aesthetic procedures now do use materials that are artificial, they’re a silicone-established rubber material. Technically, not a plastic stuff in the organic chemistry sense.
Just one surgery Plastic Surgery in all has actually used a plastic substance and that is an acrylic cranioplasty in which a part of the skull is replaced by a ‘plastic bit’. While not as commonly done today, acrylic cranioplasties are still completed by some Plastic Surgeons and neurosurgeon too.