David B. Reath, MD
Knoxville, TN (865) 450-9253

Why is plastic surgery called “plastic” surgery?

This is a very common question that I have been asked. In fact, we were talking about this in the office at lunch yesterday, and most of the people in my office didn’t know the answer to this either. So, being the wise guy that I am, I told them to read my blog. Which, of course, means that I have to write the blog. So here goes:

“Plastic,” as it refers to the type of surgery I perform, and as it applies to the synthetic materials, is derived from the Greek word “plastikos,” which means to mold, or to have the ability to mold. Just as the synthetic plastic materials can be molded into different shapes, plastic surgery molds, or reshapes different parts of the body. So, the “plastic” in plastic surgery doesn’t mean that we are always putting in something synthetic (like a plastic), but that we are changing the shape of, or molding the part of the body we are working on.

Simple, right? Either that, or it’s all Greek to me!

Here’s looking at you,

David B.


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