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Plastic surgery glossary: Terms you should know

Understanding the specific terminology of procedures can help you decide which one works best for you based on the look you want to accomplish.


If you’re currently considering plastic surgery, you’re likely both excited and intimidated. Everyone should feel comfortable in their own skin, but the process to accomplish this may evoke feelings of uncertainty and confusion based on the unfamiliar terms you’ll read during your research. Understanding the specific terminology of procedures can help you decide which one works best for you based on the look you want to accomplish.

Terms you should know before getting plastic or cosmetic surgery

To help ease the confusion – and potential stress – we’ve created a plastic surgery glossary of terms you should get familiar with before committing to a procedure.

Abdominoplasty: According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, this is a surgical procedure that corrects or removes excess skin that hangs over the stomach area. Also known as a tummy tuck.

Breast augmentation: The enlargement of the breasts using silicone implants or transferred fat.

Breast lift: A surgery used to lift breasts to a more comfortable position, often sought out by women after giving birth as a part of a mommy makeover.

Breast reconstruction: This is for women who are interested in restoring their breasts to a normal shape, appearance or size after having a mastectomy, or breast removal. Breast reconstruction can involve various plastic surgery procedures to accomplish the sought after look.

There are various breast surgeries available.There are various breast surgeries available for those seeking plastic surgery.

Chemical peel: The Stanford Health Care Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Clinic defines a chemical peel as a solution that’s used to help improve the skin’s appearance in terms of look and texture. A chemical peel can reduce fine lines, correct uneven skin tones, eliminate acne, treat scarring and even remove pre-cancerous growths.

Cosmetic surgery: Also known as aesthetic plastic surgery, cosmetic surgery is a body or facial reconstructive procedure that’s performed to help improve the body solely for boosted appearance and heightened confidence.

Dermabrasion: According to the Australian Foundation for Plastic Surgery, dermabrasion is a procedure that removes the top layer of skin using a high-powered rotating brush tool, with the intention of improving the appearance of skin by removing wrinkles and scars. The severity of the impacted skin will determine how much skin will be removed during the procedure.

Dermaplaning: Similar to dermabrasion, this technique is performed specifically to treat skin impacted by deep acne scars.

Injectables: Also known as fillers, injectables are substances inserted under the skin to restore or create volume, most commonly in facial areas like the lips.

Invasive: The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery defines invasive as the term used to identify that a procedure involves a minor surgery that will likely require general anesthesia to perform. Invasive surgeries include breast augmentation and liposuction.

Laser therapy: Also known as laser treatment, this procedure uses intense light beams to eliminate spider veins that appear underneath the skin.

Liposuction removes fat from beneath the skin. Liposuction removes fat from beneath the skin.

Liposuction: A surgery used to suck fat from beneath the surface of the skin to reduce bloating and fullness in areas where fat typically stores, such as the buttocks, thighs, hips and lower abdomen. This is also known as lipoplasty.

Non-invasive: This term is used to describe procedures that don’t involve going under the knife and have little to no recovery time. Example include dermabrasion and chemical peels.

Plastic surgery: Not to be confused with cosmetic surgery, plastic surgery is a body or facial reconstructive surgery performed to alter looks resulting from a disease, defect or disorder to appear and work normally.

Rhinoplasty: The surgical repair of the nose by reshaping bone and cartilage. It can be performed to reshape or resize the nose, reshape the nostrils or change the angle that falls between the lips and nose.

Tummy tuck: See abdominoplasty.

Call Maryland Plastic Surgery to schedule your consultation

Now that you’re feeling more familiar with typical plastic surgery vocabulary, it’s time to get serious about discovering your best self. At Maryland Plastic Surgery, we can help you achieve just that with various cosmetic procedure options, as well as laser services and dermatology treatments.

With over 20 years of experience in the industry, nearly 6,000 cosmetic procedures performed and over 15,000 MedSpa treatments provided, we are confident that we can help you feel comfortable from the moment you walk in for your consultation and walk out with satisfactory results.

Are you ready to become your most confident self? Call Maryland Plastic Surgery today to get started.

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