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Imagine someone has done a plastic surgery on the face. What is the best and the most natural way to say this in English? What comes to my mind is:

  • He had a plastic surgery on his face.

But the problem is that when I search it n google, I get only 7 hits. This is why I doubted if I have to look for an alternative. What is the best structure to indicate the same thing?

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Dictionaries should be the very first resource for learners of English, not only do they gain a greater understanding of a word's meaning, but also tips on how to use that term, or expression. For example:

A look in Oxford Living Dictionaries, tells us that plastic surgery is a mass noun, also called uncountable, which tells us that the indefinite article "a" is considered non-standard, or ungrammatical. This would probably account for the low number of results on Google. In fact, all seven links cite the same identical phrase posted by an anonymous user

Yes, Justin Bieber is just fake he had a plastic surgery on his face and a operation on his voice box and that is why he sounds so good :)

If we eliminate the indefinite article in the phrase in bold, it sounds much more acceptable “... he had plastic surgery on his face...”.

plastic surgery [mass noun]
The process of reconstructing or repairing parts of the body by the transfer of tissue, either in the treatment of injury or for cosmetic reasons:

  • Actually in California (where cosmetic surgery is common) while it is certainly "natural" to explicitly say "plastic surgery", it's not normal to use it unless you're talking about reconstructive surgery to fix some involuntary condition like a genetic abnormality or serious injury. Instead people seem to prefer the euphemism "had work done" to talk about purely cosmetic procedures like face lifts, nose jobs, Botox, collagen injections, etc. – Andrew Jan 21 '17 at 17:47
  • Ex:. "Yes she looks great for her age, but y'know she's had a lot of work done." This is just a "social grace" thing, most likely. – Andrew Jan 21 '17 at 17:47
  • @Andrew I fully agree with your observations, but the problem is the OP did not provide context. Why has this person had cosmetic/plastic surgery? Was their face disfigured in a fire? Did they have a congenital defect? Did they want to physically change identity? In all these cases, I'd prefer to use the term plastic surgery, which evokes a more serious intervention one not solely based on cosmetic appearance. And then the OP wanted to know why his sentence had so few hits, well I hope the answer explains it. – Mari-Lou A Jan 21 '17 at 18:40
  • I finally figured out what was bothering me about the phrase "plastic surgery". For whatever reason, you don't hear it much anymore -- for people who really need it, it's more common to say either "reconstructive surgery" or be specific about what is being "repaired" (cleft palate, mastectomy replacement, etc.). Otherwise it's referred to as "cosmetic surgery". I suspect this is because many plastic surgeons who do reconstructive work want to distinguish themselves from those who do only cosmetic work. – Andrew Jan 22 '17 at 15:26
  • @Andrew you should update your answer. As you know I don't live in the US, I don't follow "makeover shows" or Reality TV, so I accept that plastic surgery as a term, may be restrictive, and even dated. Cosmetic surgery is definitely viewed as the cash cow of medicine today. But the OP said nothing about what type of intervention. BTW he's been asking a number of questions about surgery, did you notice? – Mari-Lou A Jan 22 '17 at 15:54
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[Update]

I finally figured out what was bothering me about the phrase "plastic surgery". For whatever reason, you don't hear it much anymore -- for people who really need it, it's more common to say either "reconstructive surgery" or be specific about what is being "repaired" (cleft palate, mastectomy replacement, etc.). Otherwise it's referred to as "cosmetic surgery" for procedures which are voluntary and serve entirely to enhance someone's appearance.

Officially it's still called "Plastic Surgery", but I suspect many plastic surgeons who do reconstructive work want to distinguish themselves from those who do only cosmetic work, and so don't like to call themselves "plastic surgeons". Instead they'll list their accomplishments with people who have congenital defects, or burn victims, or other disfigurements that prevent them from leading full, healthy lives.

Anyway, while "cosmetic surgery" is a more "formal" term used on television and in advertising and medical journals and so on, a common way to express this in casual conversation is, "He/she has had work done". This doesn't apply to just facial surgery, but any kind of cosmetic work.

If you want to be specific to the face, it depends on the kind of surgery. You might say "he/she got a lift" (short for "face lift"), or "she's had some Botox". Or you can just say someone had a part of their face "done":

She had her nose done yesterday, so she's staying inside until the swelling goes down.

For certain surgeries, you can say "a nose-job" or "a boob-job". Sometimes people get "an injection" which usually means collagen to make the facial part look (temporarily) larger and more sensual. Lips are common, but also cheeks and other parts of the face.

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    Yes, in the US it's common to say "X had some work done". – Epanoui Nov 12 '17 at 0:05

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