Terms to add to your plastic surgery glossary

July 11, 2013

Add these terms to your plastic surgery glossary.
Add these terms to your plastic surgery glossary.

If you're in the early stages of planning a plastic surgery procedure, you've likely come across a few terms that have made you stop and scratch your head. Squaring away some of these phrases will prove useful as you prepare for a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon, so let's go over a few of the most common terms you'll encounter:

Cookie-cutter plastic surgery
Cookies are a delicious treat, but cookie-cutter plastic surgery is not something you want. This term refers to doctors who use the same procedures and techniques to treat all of their patients. A good plastic surgeon will help you design a plastic surgery plan that works for your body type and specific needs. If you don't feel you're getting an individual treatment, then it may be best to look for a new doctor.

Back-alley plastic surgery
This is another term that you should avoid. Back-alley plastic surgery is a scary trend that involves undertrained or unqualified individuals offering plastic surgery procedures at a discounted price. More often than not, these shady deals end up causing physical harm (or worse) to the patient. Under no circumstances should you sacrifice quality of care for price.

Invasive vs. noninvasive
As you read through potential plastic surgery procedures, you'll see the terms "invasive" and "noninvasive" quite frequently. In short, invasive procedures involve at least minor surgery, and often require the use of general anesthesia. Examples of invasive procedures include facelifts, breast augmentation and liposuction. Noninvasive procedures can often be done on an outpatient basis and have little to no recovery time, though results may not last as long. Botox injections, microdermabrasion and chemical peels are all good examples.

Medispas
The term "medispa" is quite common in the world of plastic surgery, and you'll hear differing opinions on whether or not they are a good thing. Essentially, these facilities are locations that offer both typical spa treatments as well as noninvasive cosmetic treatments. There have been many stories in the news over the past few years about medispas that were allowing untrained individuals to administer cosmetic medicines, so make sure there is a board-certified plastic surgeon overseeing the facility.

Words that end in "-plasty"
As you're performing your research, you may stumble upon words like lipoplasty or abdominoplasty. Don't be fooled - these aren't new procedures you've never heard of. Rather, they're clinical terms for liposuction and tummy tucks. If it ends in "-plasty," odds are it's describing a procedure that has a more colloquial synonym.


The mission of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ASAPS, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to www.surgery.org

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About ASAPS
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world’s leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body.  ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; active members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and non-surgical aesthetic procedures. International active members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.

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