The specialty of Plastic Surgery covers a wide field of reconstructive and reparative surgery, both in its own right and also as an interface specialty with many other surgical and medical sub-specialties.
Plastic Surgery can be arbitrarily divided into the following sub-specialties:
- Congenital: Cleft lip and palate and other facial deformities; craniofacial defects; hypospadias and other genito-urinary anomalies; congenital skin conditions.
- Trauma: Facial trauma; lower limb trauma; burn injury.
- Neoplasms: Malignant tumours of skin; benign skin lesions; head and neck cancer; breast reconstruction following cancer treatments; reconstruction after other cancer treatment.
- Hand Surgery: Treatment of congenital hand abnormalities; primary and secondary repair of injuries to the hand and upper limb; treatment of degenerative hand disease.
- Other Conditions Requiring Surgery: Reconstruction of large defects; pressure sores and other chronic wounds; venous and other leg ulcers.
- Aesthetic Surgery: Within the West Midlands Regional Guidelines, certain major aspects of disfigurement are treated when these cause physical or psychological problems.
- Collaborative Surgery: Plastic surgeons often work with other medical and surgical specialists, often holding joint clinics with oncologists, dermatologists, rheumatologists and other medical disciplines.
Plastic surgeons often work closely with colleagues in Orthopaedic Surgery, Ear Nose and Throat Surgery, Maxillofacial Surgery, Neurosurgery and General Surgery. They do this to provide multi-disciplinary care to the patient.
Plastic Surgery has been at the forefront in the development of many new techniques and is now at the cutting edge of research in the surgical management of patients. Basic scientific and clinical research is encouraged and trainee surgeons with inquiring minds will find a wealth of potential research projects within the field of plastic and reconstructive surgery.
Since few procedures in Plastic Surgery are identical, the work is stimulating, challenging, exciting and encourages innovation.
The specialty has a challenging amount of out of hours work which mostly involves the management of burns injury and the treatment of severe facial, hand and lower limb injuries.