Plastic and reconstructive surgery is a surgical specialty with a large spectrum of activities. There is considerable confusion as to its contents among physicians of other specialties as well as among the general public. In various countries, among others Greece, plastic surgery is identified as esthetic surgery. In reality, esthetic surgery is only a domain of plastic surgery. Other domains, equally important or even more important, are surgery of congenital malformations (anomalies) (cleft lip, cleft palate, skeletal anomalies, vascular anomalies etc), fractures of the facial skeleton, surgery of benign and certain malignant tumors, surgery of the breast, surgery of soft tissue injuries, restoration of post traumatic deformities, trauma of peripheral nerves, hand surgery, treatment of burns, reconstruction of defects of the whole body (often with free tissue transfer), management (treatment) of difficult wounds, (pressure sores, diabetic ulcers, venous ulcers etc.), correction of unsightly scars.

Plastic surgery is the only surgical specialty which combines science and art. Its aim is the restoration of normal function, the improvement of external appearance and the restoration of psychological equilibrium of the patients.

The role of plastic surgery has expanded immensely during the last two decades due to the developments in basic science and clinical surgery. “The general surgeon was until recently the captain of surgical specialties. I think that in the future this will be handed over to plastic surgeons”. The above citation was part of the introductory speech of Prof. Golematis MD, FACS, Professor Emeritus of Surgery, University of Athens, during the presentation of Mr. Ioannides’ book on “Cervical Lymph Node Metastases: Diagnosis and Treatment” (Athens, 2009).

Head and neck surgery is a surgical subspecialty which deals with problems, and especially benign and malignant tumours, of the head and neck (skin, salivary glands, nose and paranasal cavities, maxilla and mandible, oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, thyroid gland, neck). It is practiced by plastic surgeons, general surgeons, ENT surgeons, or craniomaxillofacial surgeons who have had additional training in the other three relevant surgical specialties and specific training (theoretical and practical) in head and neck surgery in specialized centers (usually for three years).