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December 1988

Etymology and Facial Plastic Surgery

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1988;114(12):1378. doi:10.1001/archotol.1988.01860240028014

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Although medical specialties are created and redefined in each generation, the historic names help describe their essential characteristics. The Greek and Latin roots of facial plastic surgery are all concerned with form. Face is derived from the Latin facies—"form, figure, appearance hence face, visage.... The exact etymology of the Latin facies is uncertain: some scholars refer it to facere, to make; others to the root fa-, to appear, shine...." Plastic is from the Greek πλασσ∈lv, "to mould, form." Surgery is derived most recently from the Latin surgia, "the art and practice of treating injuries, deformities, and other disorders by manual operations or instrumental appliances"; it originally came, however, from the Greek word for handwork, X∈lp ∈pyou. (Cosmetic comes from the Greek koσμηTl k os, "having the power to adorn, embellish, or beautify." Interestingly, the Greek root koσμos is the same as cosmos, to arrange and, thus, an ordered arrangement.)

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