In this survey we analyse the status quo of gas plasma applications in medical sciences. Plasma is a partly ionized gas, which contains free charge carriers (electrons and ions), active radicals, and excited molecules. So-called nonthermal plasmas are particularly interesting, because they operate at relatively low temperatures and do not inflict thermal damage to nearby objects. In the past two decades nonthermal plasmas have made a revolutionary appearance in solid state processing technology. The recent trends focus on using plasmas in health care, for "processing" of medical equipment and even living tissues. The major goal of tissue treatment with plasmas is nondestructive surgery: controlled, high-precision removal of diseased sections with minimum damage to the organism. Furthermore, plasmas allow fast and efficient bacterial inactivation, which makes them suitable for sterilization of surgical tools and local disinfection of tissues. Much research effort must be undertaken before these techniques will become common in medicine, but it is expected that a novel approach to surgery will emerge from plasma science.