This article is from the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery FAQ, by firstname.lastname@example.org (Robert Green) with numerous contributions by others.
Plastic surgery is named from the Greek word "plastikos" which
means "to shape", based on the surgeon re-shaping the form
of the patient's form through surgery. It has nothing to do with
the types of materials used in the surgery itself.
In surgery, many different materials may be utilized, depending
on the desired results and the type of surgery. Frequently,
the surgeon will make use of the patient's own tissues, including
tissues from another location of the body, or by reshaping the
existing tissues to achieve a better appearance.
Historically, many materials have been used in cosmetic
and reconstructive surgery, including ivory, wood, and others. In
modern times, hard silicone rubber is a popular material. This
should not be confused with the gel silicone which has sparked so
much controversy through its use as a filler for breast implants.