From the pioneering stem cell surgery that allowed Katie Piper to partially regain her sight after being blinded by an acid attack, to cranial reconstructive surgery for Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai who was shot in the head by the Taliban, plastic surgery really can work miracles.

Designed to restore the function and form of skin and tissue, plastic surgery can change lives following a debilitating illness, injury or birth defect.

Plastic surgery is not the same cosmetic surgery, which is carried out to alter an individual's appearance. Although on some occasions cosmetic surgery can be performed for functional reasons, such as with breast reduction.

According to the NHS, restoring functionality is the main priority in plastic surgery procedures, with aesthetic concerns coming second.

HuffPost UK Lifestyle have pulled together some of the most impressive plastic surgery miracles to hit the headlines in recent months.

Have we missed any? Let us know in the comments below.

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  • Katie Piper, Acid Attack Model, Gets Eyesight Back With Stem Cell Treatment

    Katie Piper, who was left partially blinded in her left eye after her ex-partner threw sulphuric acid in her face, has regained some of her sight thanks to pioneering stem cell surgery. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/02/07/katie-piper-acid-attack-eye-sight-stem-cell_n_1259354.html" target="_blank"><strong>READ MORE.</strong></a>

  • First Hand Transplant Operation Performed At Leeds Hospital

    A 51-year-old man has become the first person in the UK to have a hand transplant. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/01/03/hand-transplant-leeds-general-infirmary-_n_2403374.html" target="_blank"><strong>READ MORE.</strong></a>

  • Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani Schoolgirl Shot by Taliban, To Undergo Reconstructive Surgery

    A 15-year-old girl shot in the head by the Taliban will undergo reconstructive surgery in the next month, her doctors say. Malala Yousafzai was shot in Pakistan in October and later transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham (QEHB) for further specialist treatment, where she remains. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/01/03/malala-yousafzai-reconstructive-surgery_n_2404204.html" target="_blank"><strong>READ MORE.</strong></a>

  • Aesha Mohammadzai, Afghan Woman Mutilated By Taliban Urges Abused Women 'Never Give Up'

    Aesha Mohammadzai was mutilated by her Taliban husband and in-laws and left for dead four years ago. The then 19-year-old became a symbol for oppressed women in Afghanistan after appearing on the front of Time magazine. Mohammadzai spoke exclusively to ITV’s Daybreak about her ongoing recovery and revealed the results of her reconstructive surgery so far. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/02/26/aesha-mohammadzai-afghan-woman-mutilated-taliban-abused-women-pictures_n_2765436.html#slide=2155203" target="_blank"><strong>READ MORE.</strong></a>

  • Chinese Woman, 28, Who Looks Like 80-Year-Old, Has Plastic Surgery

    At first glance, this Chinese woman -- with her drooping eyelids, wrinkles and puffy complexion -- could easily be mistaken for a grandmother in her eighties. So imagine HuffPost UK Lifestyle's surprise when we learned that she is just 28 years old. Yes, 28. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/01/23/chinese-woman-28-looks-old-plastic-surgery_n_2532346.html" target="_blank"><strong>READ MORE.</strong></a>

  • Can Botox Cure Depression? Blogs Dr Patrick Bowler

  • Richard Lee Norris, Face Transplant Patient Pictured Seven Months After Surgery

    Pictures of a 37-year-old face man injured in a gun accident have been released seven months after he received an extensive face transplant. Richard Lee Norris lost most of his upper and lower jaws as well as his lips and nose after the incident in 1997. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/10/17/richard-lee-norris-face-transplant-patient-pictured-surgery-_n_1973862.html" target="_blank"><strong>READ MORE.</strong></a>

  • Charlotte Ponce, Michigan Girl Mauled By Pet Raccoon, Gets First Donor-Supported Surgery

    After Charlotte Ponce was mauled by her family's pet raccoon 10 years ago, the brave girl is finally receiving the treatment that she deserves. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/23/charlotte-ponce-girl-mauled-by-raccoon-surgery_n_1825248.html" target="_blank"><strong>READ MORE.</strong></a>

  • As Botox Is Found to Treat Clinical Depression, How to Battle Low Mood With Your Face, blogs Dr Raj Persaud and Dr Peter Bruggen

  • Chronic Migraine Sufferers To Get Botox On NHS

    New published guidelines suggest patients would benefit from Botox injections to treat chronic migraines. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/05/10/nhs-botox-help-chronic-sufferers_n_1506661.html" target="_blank"><strong>READ MORE.</strong></a>

  • Ear Reconstruction Utilizes Patient's Tissue, Forearm In Innovative Surgery

    After 42-year-old Sherrie Walter of Bel Air, Maryland had her left ear surgically removed following a bout with an aggressive form of skin cancer, doctors determined that only a real, living replacement would do. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/27/ear-reconstruction-surgery-patient-tissue-forearm_n_1919872.html" target="_blank"><strong>READ MORE.</strong></a>

  • Saving Face With Acid Attack Surgeon Mohammad Jawad, blogs Amy Dawson

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