Glossary of Common Plastic Surgery Terms

 

Learning Center DoctorOur medical glossary includes definitions for terms related to plastic surgery.

 

Click on a link below for definitions of medical terms beginning with that letter.

 

 

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N
O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

 


 

 

 

A

  • Abdominoplasty: A surgical procedure done to flatten your abdomen by removing extra fat and skin, and tightening muscles in your abdominal wall. This procedure is commonly referred to as a tummy tuck.
  • Antihelical Fold: A fold that is just inside the rim of the ear.
  • Arborizing Veins: Veins that resemble tiny, branch-like shapes in a cartwheel pattern, often seen on the outer thigh.
  • Areola: Pigmented skin surrounding the nipple.
  • Augmentation Mammoplasty: Breast enlargement by surgery.

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B

  • Bilateral Gynecomastia: A condition of over-developed or enlarged breasts affecting both breasts in men.
  • Biocompatible Materials: Synthetic or natural material used in facial implants and designed to function along with living tissue.
  • Blepharoplasty: A primarily cosmetic surgical procedure that reduces bagginess from lower eyelids and raises drooping upper eyelids. The procedure involves the removal of excess skin, muscle and underlying fatty tissue.
  • Brachioplasty: A surgical procedure, also known as arm lift, to correct sagging of the upper arms.
  • Breast Augmentation: Also known as augmentation mammoplasty; A surgical procedure done to increase breast size.
  • Breast lift: Also known as mastopexy; surgery to lift the breasts.
  • Breast Reconstruction: Breast reconstruction is achieved through several plastic surgery techniques that attempt to restore a breast to near normal shape, appearance and size following mastectomy.
  • Breast Reduction: Reduction of breast size and breast lift, by surgery.
  • Brow Lift: A surgical procedure to correct a low-positioned or sagging brow. Smoothes furrows across the forehead and between the brows.

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C

  • Cancer: The uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. Cancerous cells are also called malignant cells.
  • Cannula: The Liposuction  instrument that a Plastic Surgeon uses to remove the fat from your body.
  • Capsular Contracture: A complication of breast implant surgery which occurs when scar tissue that normally forms around the implant tightens and squeezes the implant and becomes firm.
  • Cheiloplasty: Cleft lip repair surgery.
  • Cheiloschisis: The scientific term for a cleft lip.
  • Chemical Peel Solutions: Substances that penetrate the skin’s surface to soften irregularities in texture and color.
  • Circumferential Thigh Lift: A surgical procedure to correct sagging of the outer and mid-thigh.
  • Cleft: A separation of the upper lip and/or the roof of the mouth.
  • Cleft Lip: The incomplete formation of the upper lip.
  • Cleft Palate: The incomplete formation of the roof of the mouth.
  • Collagen: A natural protein used as an injectable filler for soft tissue augmentation.
  • Columella: Tissue that separates the nostrils.
  • Conchal Cartilage: The largest and deepest concavity of the external ear.
  • Constricted Ear: Also called a lop or cup ear, has varying degrees of protrusion, reduced ear circumference, folding or flattening of the upper helical rim, and lowered ear position.
  • Contracture: A puckering or pulling together of tissues; a potential side effect of cleft surgery.
  • Contractures: Scars that restrict movement due to skin and underlying tissue that pull together during healing and usually occur when there is a large amount of tissue loss, such as after a burn.
  • Cryptotia: Also called hidden ear, occurs when the upper rim of the ear is buried beneath a fold of scalp, secondary to abnormal folding of the upper ear cartilage toward the head. The folding is the reverse of that commonly seen in the protruding ear.

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D

  • Dermabrasion: A surgical procedure in which a patient's upper layers of skin, scarred from acne, pox or other causes, is frozen and then removed using a high-powered rotating brush

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E

  • Epidermis: The uppermost portion of skin.
  • Excision: To remove the skin.
  • External Incisions: Surgical incisions made on the surface of your skin.

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F

  • Flap Techniques: Surgical techniques used to reposition your own skin, muscle and fat to reconstruct or cover the breast.
  • Fascia: A type of connective tissue used in lip augmentation to produce fuller lips. This product is made from human donor tissue.

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G

  • Grafting: Tissue taken from other parts of the body.

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H

  • Hematoma: Blood pooling beneath the skin.
  • Hyfrecation: Spider vein treatment in which the vessels are cauterized.
  • Hyperpigmented Scar: A scar that is darker in color.
  • Hypertropic Scar: Thick clusters of scar tissue that develop directly at a wound site.
  • Hypopigmented Scar: A scar that is lighter in color.

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I

  • Injectable Fillers: Substances used to restore volume and your youthful appearance.
  • Intraoral Incisions: Surgical incisions made inside the mouth.
  • Intravenous Sedation: Sedatives are administered by injection into a vein to help you relax.

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J

K

  • Keloids: Large scars that can be painful or itchy, and may also pucker which can occur anywhere on your body, developing more commonly where there is little underlying fatty tissue, such as on the breastbone or shoulders.

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L

  • Laser Resurfacing: A method to change to the surface of the skin that allows new, healthy skin to form at the scar site.
  • Laser Therapy: An intense beam of light passed over the leg to eliminate spider veins.
  • Laser Treatment: An intense beam of light directed at the spider vein, which obliterates it through the skin.
  • Latissimus Dorsi Flap Technique: A surgical technique that uses muscle, fat and skin tunneled under the skin and tissue of a woman's back to the reconstructed breast and remains attached to its donor site, leaving blood supply intact.
  • Lipoplasty: Another term for liposuction.
  • Liposuction: A cosmetic procedure in which a special instrument called a cannula is used to break up and suck out fat from the body.
  • Local flap: A surgical procedure used for skin cancer in which healthy, adjacent tissue is repositioned over the wound.
  • Lower Body Lift: Surgical procedure to correct sagging of the abdomen, buttocks, groin, and outer thighs.

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M

  • Mastectomy: The removal of a breast, typically to rid the body cancer.
  • Mastopexy: Also called a breast lift, this procedure removes excess skin in order to lift up sagging or drooping breasts
  • Medial Thigh Lift: A surgical procedure to correct sagging of the inner thigh.
  • Melanoma: The most dangerous form of skin cancer. Melanoma can spread rapidly and be fatal if not treated or detected.
  • Microtia: The most complex congenital ear deformity when the outer ear appears as either a sausage-shaped structure resembling little more than the earlobe, or has more recognizable parts of the concha and tragus or other normal ear features. It may or may not be missing the external auditory or hearing canal. Hearing is impaired to varying degrees.

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N

  • Nasolabial Fold: Deep creases between the nose and mouth.
  • Nevi: A mole.

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O

  • Obturator: An intraoral device your child may wear prior to repair of the cleft lip which may assist in feeding and maintain the arch of the lip prior to repair.
  • Otoplasty: A surgical procedure also known as ear surgery to improve the shape, position or proportion of the ear.

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P

  • Palatoschisis: The scientific term for a cleft palate.
  • PMMA: A widely used implant material formed into tiny microspheres and suspended in a collagen gel for use as a wrinkle filler.

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Q

R

  • Reduction Mammoplasty: The surgical removal of breast tissue to reduce the size of breasts.
  • Reticular Veins: Larger, darker leg veins that tend to bulge slightly, but are not severe enough to require surgical treatment.
  • Rhinoplasty: A cosmetic procedure used to enhance or change the appearance of the nose. Rhinoplasty is commonly referred to as a nose job.
  • Rhytidectomy: A surgical procedure, also known as facelift, to reduce sagging of the mid-face, jowls and neck.

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S

  • Saline Implants: Breast implants filled with a salt water solution.
  • Sclerotherapy: Sclerosing solution injected into a vein, causing it to collapse and fade from view.
  • SGAP Flap: Superior Gluteal Artery perforator flap, which takes tissue from the buttock.
  • Silicone Implants: Breast implants filled with an elastic gel solution.
  • Skin Graft: A surgical procedure used for skin cancer. Healthy skin is removed from one area of the body and relocated to the wound site. A suture line is positioned to follow the natural creases and curves of the face if possible, to minimize the appearance of the resulting scar.
  • Skin Resurfacing: Treatment to improve the texture, clarity and overall appearance of your skin.
  • Soft Tissue Augmentation: The use of injectable fillers to restore volume and your youthful appearance.
  • Spider-shaped Veins: A group of veins radiating outward from a dark central point.
  • Spider veins: Small clusters of red, blue or purple veins that appear in the skin on the thighs, calves and ankles.
  • Stahl’s Ear: An ear that is distorted in shape due to an abnormal fold of cartilage.

 

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T

  • Tissue Expansion: A procedure that can substitute for skin grafts. An inflatable balloon called a tissue expander is placed under the skin near the scar site to stretch additional skin to be used to revise a scar. Often, multiple procedures are needed.
  • TRAM Flap: Also known as transverse rectus abdominis musculocutaneous flap, a surgical technique that uses muscle, fat and skin from your own abdomen to reconstruct the breast.
  • Transaxillary Incision: An incision made in the underarm area.
  • Tummy Tuck: A surgical procedure to correct the apron of excess skin hanging over your abdomen.

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U

  • Unilateral Gynecomastia: A condition of over-developed or enlarged breasts affecting just one breast in men.

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V

  • Varicose Veins: Abnormally swollen or dilated veins.
  • Venous System: Veins.

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W - X - Y

Z

  • Z-plasty for Scar Revision: A surgical technique that creates angled flaps on either side of the original scar site that can completely reposition or change scar direction, interrupt scar tension or improve scar flexibility.

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