A career in Plastic Surgery

A male plastic surgeon and his team in an operating theatre

Plastic surgery is really an art, and the body is the medium to work with. It involves a lot of creativity and technology. The work result is highly visible, leading to a high degree of career and personal satisfaction.

What’s this career about?

Contrary to popular belief, a plastic surgeon does much more than simple tummy tucks, and facelifts. Plastic surgery can be divided into two specialties: Cosmetic (or Aesthetic) Surgery and Reconstructive Surgery.

Cosmetic Surgery is intended to improve the appearance of a person. Though relatively a small part of the specialty, it is probably the most visible and perhaps the most glamorous aspect of plastic surgery. Surgeons use a variety of equipment ranging from simple forceps and scissors to most sophisticated microprocessor-controlled lasers, which can resurface and tighten the skin, remove hair, and eliminate tiny “spider” veins on the legs and face.

Reconstructive Surgery repairs or replaces body parts damaged by accidents, illness or malformation. It is intended to improve function and mobility and to restore a patient’s appearance. These surgeons use craniofacial surgery, hand surgery, microsurgery, skin grafting, tissue expansion, flap surgery and other techniques to repair injuries.

Prior to treatment, surgeons hold consultation with patients to assess a patient’s needs, review medical histories and pre-existing conditions, and discuss surgical risks. Frank and thorough assessments help plastic surgeons choose treatment plans that best suit their patients.

Recording a patient’s medical history and updating their records with any services performed is another key responsibility. These are sensitive documents, so plastic surgeons must abide by any record-keeping policies or regulations to protect patient confidentially.

Plastic surgeons don’t specialize in a disease like cancer doctors do, nor do they specialize in a part of the body like heart surgeons do. They work all over the body on all kinds of diseases and frequently with other physicians in a multi-disciplinary group.


  • How do I get there?
  • Key skills
  • Institutes
  • Employment prospects
  • Pay packages

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Dr Vibha Gupta
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Dr Vibha Gupta

Dr Vibha Gupta is a Ph.D. in Mathematics from IIT Roorkee. A feature writer, her book Careers: A Pathfinder and articles in various publications attempt to guide students in choosing a career according to their natural strengths, talents and skills.