The Distinction Between Plastic Surgery and Cosmetic Surgery: A Professional's Perspective

Learn about the differences between plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery from an expert's perspective. Find out which procedures are considered medically necessary and the importance of choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon.

The Distinction Between Plastic Surgery and Cosmetic Surgery: A Professional's Perspective

As a board-certified plastic surgeon, I have spent years training and practicing in the field of plastic surgery. One of the most common questions I receive is about the distinction between plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery. While these terms are often used interchangeably, there are clear differences between the two.

Plastic surgery

encompasses a wide range of procedures that aim to restore the body's normal appearance and function. This includes both reconstructive procedures, which focus on repairing or reconstructing issues caused by congenital deformities, trauma, or other reasons, as well as cosmetic procedures, which focus on enhancing a person's appearance and self-esteem.

Cosmetic surgery

, on the other hand, is a subspecialty of plastic surgery that is solely dedicated to aesthetic procedures.

These procedures are not considered medically necessary and are performed solely for the purpose of improving one's appearance. While both plastic and cosmetic surgery fall under the umbrella of plastic surgery, they have different goals and approaches. Plastic surgery aims to correct dysfunctional areas of the body, while cosmetic surgery focuses on improving aesthetic appeal, symmetry, and proportion. Some common plastic surgery procedures include carpal tunnel surgery, microsurgery, rhinoplasty, and peripheral nerve surgery. These are often deemed medically necessary and may be covered by health insurance. On the other hand, cosmetic surgery procedures such as breast augmentation, liposuction, and Botox injections are typically not covered by insurance. It's important to note that while many plastic surgeons offer cosmetic procedures in their office, not all cosmetic surgeons are trained in plastic surgery.

In fact, cosmetic surgery is a subspecialty of plastic surgery, meaning that plastic surgeons have undergone additional training and certification in cosmetic procedures. When it comes to selecting a surgeon for any cosmetic or reconstructive procedure, it's crucial to do your research and ensure that they are board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. This certification guarantees that the surgeon has passed rigorous exams and has received proper training in both general and cosmetic surgery. Unfortunately, there are risks involved when individuals choose to go to uncertified individuals for their elective procedures. These individuals may lack the necessary experience, training, and knowledge, putting patients at risk. As a board-certified plastic surgeon, I always urge patients to prioritize their safety and well-being by choosing a qualified and certified surgeon. The confusion between plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery is further perpetuated by the rise of Botox parties, beauty bars, and social media influencers who openly discuss their plastic surgery experiences.

However, it's important to remember that plastic surgery is a broad field that encompasses both reconstructive and cosmetic procedures. The term “plastic” in plastic surgery comes from the Greek word “plastikos”, which means to mold or shape. This reflects the goal of plastic surgery – to restore or improve the appearance of the body through surgical techniques. As a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, I am committed to providing my patients with a multidisciplinary and comprehensive approach to care. This means bringing extensive experience and expertise in both reconstructive and cosmetic procedures to every patient. Ultimately, whether you are considering a cosmetic or reconstructive procedure, it's important to consult with a qualified and certified plastic surgeon. By doing so, you can ensure that you are in safe hands and receive the best possible care for your specific needs.

Jane Abair
Jane Abair

Hardcore social media maven. Devoted social media aficionado. Lifelong internet buff. Professional music aficionado. Extreme social mediaholic. General pop culture junkie.