Plastic surgery is the branch of surgery that deals with remodeling a subject’s face and body in order to correct physical deformities. There are two main branches of the field—reconstructive surgery, which attempts to repair deformed body parts that otherwise would not function normally, and cosmetic surgery, which attempts to improve the esthetic quality of aging tissue or of unattractive body parts. Reconstructive plastic surgery is often applied in cases of burns and other accidents. Cosmetic plastic surgery is popular with well-known entertainers and celebrities, or anyone who wants to enhance their facial or body features.
Physicians who specialize in reconstructive and cosmetic surgery are called plastic surgeons, or cosmetic surgeons.
Becoming a plastic surgeon requires a longer surgical residency than that required for other medical professionals. As with all branches of medicine, the student goes to medical school and takes courses in general biology and chemistry, then goes into more specific courses that prepare him for the career. The study program also includes practicing in hospitals and clinics. There are two programs for becoming a plastic surgeon— an independent model requiring a three-year period of general surgical residence, and an integrated model requiring a six-year integrated plastic surgery residence period.
During undergraduate study, students may prepare for a plastic surgery career by taking as many biology and biochemistry courses as possible; these could include Biology of Animals and Introduction to Molecular & Cellular Biology, and “special topics” courses are offered from year to year.
Plastic surgery involves numerous diverse procedures. These include abdominoplasty, colloquially referred to as “tummy tuck,” which makes the abdomen firmer; glanuloplasty, performed on the glans; otoplasty, performed to correct outer ear deformities; brachioplasty, or removal of fat and loose skin from the upper arm; and hair removal and restoration. The salary can be as high as $500,000.
A large number of Colorado Springs plastic surgeons, such as Dr. Greg Liebscher, have their own private businesses and may own and operate their own surgery centers.
Click here for information about Dr. Greg Liebscher.