What Does Plastic Surgery Mean?


While plastic seems to be everywhere these days, this common material did not inspire the term plastic surgery. A specialty that incorporates both surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic procedures designed to improve patients’ lives by shaping appearances that are healthier, firmer and more proportionate, plastic surgery actually gets its name from the Greek word “plastikos,” which means “to mold.”

Although references to plastic surgery can be traced back to the sixth century, modern plastic surgery sprung from the efforts of doctors to heal the injured soldiers suffered in World War I. Pioneering surgeons developed new techniques to repair these wounds and allow these soldiers to regain basic functions and a more normal appearance. “Out of necessity, there was invention,” says Dr. Shahram Salemy, a board certified plastic surgeon and clinical instructor at the University of Washington. “Reconstructive surgery became a critical component in the saving of lives and salvaging of limbs during the 20th century.”

When doctors began applying the lessons they had learned in reconstructive surgeries to healthy patients who wished to improve their appearance, the field of cosmetic surgery was born. “Reconstructive and cosmetic surgery are both forms of plastic surgery, and they are inescapably linked,” explains Dr. Salemy. “Plastic surgery residency training programs teach aspiring plastic surgeons to borrow from the principles and techniques of reconstructive surgery during a cosmetic procedure and vice versa. This broad-based knowledge in the multiple aspects of plastic surgery is one of many reasons that I always recommend patients interested in a cosmetic procedure seek out a board certified plastic surgeon.”

A multi-award-winning plastic surgeon recognized for his skill and his commitment to his patients, Dr. Salemy offers a variety of plastic surgeries, minimally invasive surgeries and nonsurgical procedures at his Seattle practice. He strives to make plastic surgery a positive experience for his patients by providing outstanding results in a safe, confidential environment.

To schedule a personal plastic surgery consultation with Dr. Salemy, call (206) 467-1101 or email the Seattle office.