Plastic surgery is a surgical specialty involving the restoration, reconstruction, or alteration of the human body. It can be divided into two main categories: reconstructive surgery and cosmetic surgery. Reconstructive surgery includes craniofacial surgery, hand surgery, microsurgery, and the treatment of burns. While reconstructive surgery aims to reconstruct a part of the body or improve its functioning, cosmetic (or aesthetic) surgery aims at improving the appearance of it.
The word plastic in plastic surgery means 'reshaping' and comes from the Greek πλαστική (τέχνη), plastikē (tekhnē), "the art of modelling" of malleable flesh. This meaning in English is seen as early as 1598. The surgical definition of "plastic" first appeared in 1839, preceding the modern "engineering material made from petroleum" sense by 70 years.