World Plastic Surgery Day

What is common to a severely injured limb, a birth defect of the face, cancer resection surgery, a tummy tuck and a burnt face?

A Plastic Surgeon!

Indian Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeons have been celebrating ‘Plastic Surgery Day’ on 15th July since 2011. The rest of the world also accepts this day and celebrates it as World Plastic surgery day. 

India has more than 2000 plastic surgeons, with more than 200 being added very year. A coveted, an inspiring and an essential surgical branch for the nation. 

History and Indian context :

India is the birthplace of Plastic Surgery. Sushruta, is acknowledged as the ‘Vishwa guru’ or Father of not just Plastic surgery but the whole surgical speciality. What is fascinating is these surgical techniques, like restoring nose from the skin of cheek or forehead, were not just limited to a common few but are widely known and practiced even now.

Modern Plastic surgery evolved at a very fast pace during the years of both the World Wars. Further waves of growth were driven by better understanding of anatomy, technological development and most importantly by pure surgical innovation and the will to find and solve new problems on the part of plastic surgeons.

What is Plastic surgery?

In simplest terms we are a ‘Problem solving specialty’ mostly by surgical means. It is predominantly a referral branch which has to work on problems of other medical or surgical specialities, with or after them. 

Most surgical specialities are based on an area or a group of organ systems of the body. Unlike them Plastic Surgery deals with the human body from head to toe and inside out. Most surgical branches predominantly deal with removal of disease, the destroyer role with purpose. Plastic Surgery retains, reconstructs, revitalises, and improves upon normal. Spiritually we take the creator and preserver roles of the holy trinity!  

We are bound by basic principles of surgery to preserve or recreate form, function, and aesthetics; and tied by threads of philosophy, innovation, continuous relearning and a diverse and evolved surgical skill set.

This is how a Plastic surgeon is enabled to deal with so many diverse problems with expertise. 

We bring back limbs after trauma to life and make them function.

We transplant hands when lost.

We restore the face and breast after cancer resection surgery!

We repair birth defects like cleft of lip, palate and more!

We save lives of burn victims and heal them to normalcy!

We rejuvenate hair, faces and bodies with cosmetic and aesthetic surgery!

And the above list barely scratches the surface of what we do!

There is unity in diversity in what we do. No wonder it started in Bharatvarsh and now flourishes here!

Myth busting: 

What we don’t do is how our speciality is often portrayed in pop culture, changing faces to an unrecognisable different face as in digital and print media. Cosmetic Surgery is undoubtedly 

an important part but just a drop in the vast ocean that Plastic Surgery is. As we realise the expanse and expertise of plastic surgery it is obvious it is not just the privilege of the rich and famous but a need of the really needy!


Plastic Surgery is now evolving into further subspecialities into the established ‘problems to solve’. We are also finding and growing into ‘new problems to solve’ relevant to our nation and society for its better health and improved quality of life, like Lymphedema, Hand Transplant and Breast reconstruction. The future of Plastic Surgery in India with efforts of the surgeons and society alike looks bright and promising!

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