Ten Surprising Facts about Plastic Surgery
- Plastic doesn’t mean that surgeons use plastic or anything artificial. The word plastic is derived from the Greek word plastikos, which means to mold or give form.
- Plastic surgery has two major branches: cosmetic surgery, which is focused on improving appearance, and reconstructive, which is meant to correct issues caused by illness, trauma, or a birth defect.
- Reconstructive surgery techniques were being carried out in India as early as 800 BC.
- The most common plastic surgery performed nationwide is breast augmentation, where surgeons surgically increase the size of the breasts. About 300,000 augmentations are done each year.
- The most common plastic surgeries performed at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center are breast reduction, upper eyelid surgery, and panniculectomy, which removes hanging skin and fat from the lower abdomen to create a smoother abdominal contour.
- According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), Americans spent $16.5 million on cosmetic surgery and minimally invasive procedures in 2018.
- Some plastic surgeries are covered by insurance. If the provider can document the medically necessary component of the procedure and any non-surgical remediation that was previously taken to correct the health issue, Medicare or private insurance may the cost.
- Upper eyelid surgery, known as blepharoplasty, is one of the more common surgeries that may be covered, as drooping eyelids have the ability to impair vision.
- Breast reduction is also often covered by insurance, because the weight of excess breast tissue can cause neck, shoulder, and back pain; skin conditions; and an inability to engage in some activities.
- As in all specialties, making sure your surgeon is board certified is really important. It means that they graduated from an accredited medical school and have completed 5 years of surgical and plastic surgery training. They also have to pass written and oral exams every 10 years.
Gerald Drabyn, MD, is a plastic surgeon at SVMC General Surgery in Bennington.