Sunday, July 17, 2016

India - What is Plastic Surgery? – On the occasion of National Plastic Surgery Day

The nation observes the 15th of July every year as ‘National Plastic Surgery Day’ to increase awareness about plastic surgery.

Myths about Plastic Surgery

There have been various misconceptions about plastic surgery all over the world because of the name of the super specialty. “For me, please put a good plastic material”, “After plastic surgery don’t go closer to fire, you will melt”. These are few of the comments passed by the general population. There is nothing to do with plastic material in plastic surgery.

The misconception is again compounded by the glamorous movies and dramas. Madhuri Dixit may become Shridevi within 5 minutes after an accident, that too without any scars and defects. Impossible are shown as possible easily and thus the expectation of the general population is increased. This may cause mismatch between expectation and results.

Again, it is generally believed that plastic surgery is something to do with ‘beauty and glamour’ and monopoly of ‘rich and famous’ which is no longer true.

Origin of Plastic Surgery

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. – Santayana.

The word ‘Plastic’ came from the Greek word ‘Plastikos/Plastique’ meaning ‘fit for molding’ as shape and size of our body parts can be changed- like amputated nose is reconstructed from the forehead skin or thumb can be reconstructed from the skin of forearm and groin or breast is reconstructed from the muscle and skin of back etc. Even the bone can be transplanted to another part of the body.

The art and science of plastic surgery was originated from India. Amputation of nose was a form of punishment in ancient India. Nose indicates the personality of an individual. Susruta, an Indian physician in 600 BC, reconstructed the amputated nose from the forehead skin. The technique remains as the gold standard as the skin texture is very similar with that of the nose and known as ‘Indian style of Rhinoplasty’. Susruta is regarded as the Father of Plastic Surgery.

Sir Harold Gilles, an ENT surgeon from New Zealand, innovated several surgical techniques and 10 Commandments of Plastic Surgery to repair the WW I and II injuries. He is regarded as the Father of Modern Plastic Surgery.

Mathew and Nahai – discovered the unique Blood supply of Skin making variety of skin, muscle and bone flaps possible. Introduction of advanced microscopes has made microsurgical transplantation of tissues in traumas and cancer reconstruction possible.

Plastic Surgery – defined

Plastic Surgery is now defined as a problem solving surgical discipline and spans the entire body and does not have a defined anatomic area unlike other super specialties.

Plastic surgery is artificially divided into Reconstructive and Aesthetic though the two are overlapped.
Reconstructive surgery is the surgery done on abnormal organs to offer the forms and functions of the organs like Congenital Defects, Limb Trauma, Burn and burn defects, Cancer surgery, Maxillofacial surgery, Post Traumatic defects, Micro surgery etc. Cleft lip and palate are done free of cost at Shija Hospitals under Smile Train Inc USA.

Cosmetic or Aesthetic Surgery is the surgery done on normal organs to enhance the self esteem of the individual like Face Lifting, Breast Augmentation and Reduction, Asian and Anti Aging Eyelid Surgery, Rhinoplasty (Nose Reshaping), LASER, Scar, Tattoo and Mole Excision, Chemical Peel, Dermabrasion etc.

These days cosmetic surgery is no longer an exclusive beauty secret of rich and famous. The demand for cosmetic surgeries has increased due to rising incomes, increasing consumer awareness and easy availability of procedures.

Anti Aging Science

‘Everybody wants to live longer and look younger.’ No age and sex bar. Human beings can live 100, 200, 300 …. years. But is it possible? Yes, it is possible. It is up to you. We kill ourselves due to our lifestyles. We get what we want. No age and sex bar.

Anti aging wave is the greatest wave of the century. But unlike tsunami, the impact is less felt as it has happened in the last two decades. In the beginning of 20th century, average human life span was only 20 years. Development of modern healthcare and knowledge, it is now 70 to 80 years. Many are touching 100.

Aging is defined as the collection of degenerative diseases that is largely (70%) influenced by lifestyle. Our ageing is due to chronic inflammation caused by Free Radicals- the culprit. Free radicals are unstable molecules which contains unpaired electrons in their structure. They are very active compounds, which easily induce lipid peroxidation, collagen deterioration, DNA alteration and damage of the cell membrane.

Antioxidants are heterogeneous compounds which stabilize the free radicals and delay the aging process. Among antioxidants we can find vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids and other compounds
Aging and life expectancy is approximately seventy percent determined by our lifestyle and only thirty percent determined by our genetic makeup.  The production and stabilization of free radicals is largely controlled by our healthy lifestyle – nutrition, exercise, Yoga, Meditation, Positive Thinking, deep sleep etc. ‘Beauty of mind is the best cosmetic’.

Hormone manipulation may be required to fight the aging process. Stem Cell – may become the Ultimate Anti-Aging Therapy.


Plastic surgery has progressed tremendously in the last 3 decades. Plastic Surgery can restore forms and functions of body partsand life saving. Self esteem of an individual can be increased through plastic surgery. Anti aging sciences is emerging as the most wanted human innovation of the century.

Comprehensive care is needed for Mind, Body and Spirit for health and beauty. Stem cell research may provide solution to human longevity. The science and arts of Plastic surgery is now available in Manipur. Free cleft surgery is available at Shija Hospitals. In Manipur, RIMS and Shija Hospitals have facilities for post doctoral three years course in Plastic Surgery (MCh & DNB respectively).

The writer is a Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeon, Shija Hospitals, Langol, Imphal.

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