Plastic surgery is a medical specialty concerned with the correction or restoration of form and function. Cosmetic or aesthetic surgery is the best-known kind of plastic surgery. However, plastic surgery also includes many types of reconstructive surgery, hand surgery, microsurgery, and the treatment of burns.
In plastic surgery, the transfer of skin tissue (skin grafting) is a very common procedure. Skin grafts can be taken from the recipient or donors:
- Autografts are taken from the recipient. If absent or deficient of natural tissue, alternatives can be cultured sheets of epithelial cells in vitro or synthetic compounds, such as integra, which consists of silicone and bovine tendon collagen with glycosaminoglycans.
- Allografts are taken from a donor of the same species.
- Xenografts are taken from a donor of a different species.
Good results are expected from plastic surgery that emphasizes careful planning of incisions so that they fall in the line of natural skin folds or lines, appropriate choice of wound closure, use of best available suture materials, and early removal of exposed sutures so that the wound is held closed by buried sutures.