ComparingPlastic Surgery and Cosmetic Surgery

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With the ease afforded to people today by the melding of technology and medicine, it is not uncommon to find people flocking to the nearest clinics for certain body alterations.  These services range from regular facial treatments to body sculpting procedures.  Some people consider undergoing “cosmetic surgery” or “plastic surgery,” often thinking that they are one and the same. However, there are quite a few significant differences between the two.

The fact is that a significant number of today’s plastic surgeons are focusing their careers in cosmetic surgery, leading to the notion that the two the same. However, they basically have different goals — while both are focused on improving the human body, cosmetic surgery is primarily focused on enhancing a person’s appearance. The procedures and techniques involved in the process capitalize on improving aesthetic appeal, proportion, and symmetry. It is elective, since it is primarily performed on areas that are properly functioning. Also, it can be practiced by surgeons from a variety of medical fields, performing enhancements on all areas of the head, neck, and body.

There are different scopes of cosmetic procedures, and below are the most popular:

  • Facial contouring, chin or cheek enhancement, rhinoplasty
  • Breast enhancements, including augmentation, reduction, and lifting
  • Body contouring, liposuction, tummy-tucking, gynecomastia treatment
  • Facial Rejuvenation, Eyelid lift, facelift, brow lift, neck lift
  • Skin Rejuvenation, filler treatments, Botox. Laser resurfacing

Resources: related to breast enhancement (

In contrast, plastic surgery is more focused on repairing defects in the human body in order to reconstruct a person’s normal function or appearance. It is technically a surgical specialty that focuses on defects such as birth disorders, burns, trauma, and disease. It is reconstructive in nature.

A few examples of plastic surgery procedures include:

  • Burn Repair Surgery
  • Breast reconstruction
  • Lower-extremity reconstruction
  • Congenital Defect repair, such as cleft palates
  • Scar revision surgery
  • Hand surgery

Because cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery have different goals despite having similar procedures, it must be understood that the training of a cosmetic surgeon will be very different from that of a plastic surgeon.  Cosmetic surgery training is only typically completed after a post-graduate residency in plastic surgery. This is because in the United States, there is no dedicated residency program for aspiring cosmetic surgeons. It is worthwhile to check if the doctor performing treatments on you possess the required credentials, training, and proven competence to ensure quality service.