Is it Cosmetic or Plastic Surgery?

Not To Be Confused

Many people equate plastic surgery with cosmetic surgery. Plastic surgery has two branches, cosmetic surgery and reconstructive plastic surgery.

Cosmetic or Plastic Surgery

  • Cosmetic surgery is concerned with improving the aesthetic appearance of a person.
  • Plastic surgery may involve cosmetic surgery, or just the reconstruction (reconstructive surgery).
  • Reconstructive plastic surgery is concerned with improving function; however, it may also involve trying to approximate normal appearance, but that is not its primary function. Reconstructive plastic surgery is often referred as simply reconstructive surgery.

Some parts of the world completely separate cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery and term cosmetic surgery as elective surgery, non-essential surgery, surgery which the patient chooses to have; while plastic surgery is understood to mean surgery to reconstruct or improve appearance after injury or illness.

Plastic surgeon vs Cosmetic surgeon

In order for a physician to be a plastic surgeon, he/she must complete an approved Residency training program in Plastic surgery. Plastic surgery involves a spectrum of different components, including cranio-facial surgery (e.g. cleft lip or palate), burn surgery, hand/microsurgery, maxillo-facial trauma, general and breast reconstructive surgery, and cosmetic surgery (facelift, tummy tuck, liposuction, etc.). Because the field of plastic surgery is so broad and extensive, the training required to become a plastic surgeon is between 6-8 years after medical school.

Currently any licensed physician can offer cosmetic services so if someone is a “cosmetic surgeon” – she/he could be an ENT surgeon, a Dermatologist, a General Surgeon, an Opthalmologist, a General Practitioner, or a Plastic Surgeon.

You should subtly ask your doctor about her/his credentials, training, and board certification (if its not visible). Most experienced doctors welcome questions from patients. You should only seek consultation from a doctor whom you trust and whose work you admire.

Contact us should you desire to have an appointment with our surgeon.