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Cosmetic vs. Plastic Surgery: Are They Different?

  • Cosmetic surgery enhances a person’s appearance, and plastic surgery corrects functional impairments.
  • Procedures associated with cosmetic surgery include liposuction, face lifts, and breast augmentations.
  • Plastic surgeries include breast reconstruction after mastectomy, repair of scars from accidents, and hand reconstructive surgeries. 
  • Cosmetic surgeons are typically trained in aesthetic enhancement, while plastic surgeons must be certified in reconstructive surgeries. 
  • It’s up to the patient to make an informed decision based on their consultation. 

When it comes to improving your physical appearance, various options are available. However, two of the most popular are cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery. While these two terms are often used interchangeably, there is actually a big difference between them. Let’s take a closer look at these two types of surgery to understand the distinction between them better.

Difference in Goals

Cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery have very different goals. While cosmetic surgery is elective and typically focuses on enhancing a person’s appearance, plastic surgery is meant to correct functional impairments or improve the overall aesthetic of a certain body part.

Cosmetic Surgery: Appearance Enhancement

Cosmetic surgery is any medical procedure that focuses on improving one’s aesthetic appearance. Common procedures such as liposuction, tummy tucks, face lifts, and rhinoplasty fall into this category. These surgeries enhance one’s appearance but don’t necessarily improve their health or quality of life. The primary purpose of cosmetic surgery is to make people feel better about their physical image by altering certain features they don’t like or feel self-conscious about. Some examples include dental cosmetic surgery, breast augmentation, and nose reshaping.

Cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery are two very different types of medical operations that offer different goals for their patients.

Plastic Surgery: Repairing Damage

Plastic surgery is much more serious than its cosmetic counterpart. Unlike cosmetic procedures, which focus solely on aesthetics, plastic surgery involves repairing or reconstructing body parts damaged due to injury or illness. Typical plastic surgeries include breast reconstruction after mastectomy (breast removal), repair of burns and scars from accidents, or hand reconstructive surgeries for patients suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. In essence, plastic surgeons help people restore function as well as improve their overall look after experiencing trauma or disease in some way.

plastic surgery

Difference in Training

When it comes to training and certifications, there is a distinct difference between cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery. Cosmetic surgeons are typically trained in aesthetic enhancement techniques such as liposuction or tummy tucks, while plastic surgeons must be certified in reconstructive surgeries for injuries or illnesses. As such, plastic surgeons are more highly qualified than their cosmetic counterparts due to the skill required for these operations.

Cosmetic Surgery

Cosmetic surgeons undergo residency training, learning the basics of medical procedures. They then specialize in aesthetic surgery, which requires additional training and experience. Cosmetic surgeons must be skilled in various techniques to ensure safe outcomes for their patients.

Plastic Surgery

Plastic surgeons have extensive training and must be certified in many different procedures to practice safely and effectively. The first step of the training process is a residency program, usually in general surgery, where students learn the fundamentals of medical operations. After completing the residency, plastic surgeons must then complete additional education and training specific to plastic surgery. This can include further training in reconstructive procedures, hand and microsurgery, and craniofacial surgery.

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Which Should You Choose?

When it comes to improving your physical appearance, there are many options available. The possibilities are plentiful, from changing your hairstyle to undergoing cosmetic or plastic surgery. While cosmetic and plastic surgery may seem similar, they differ significantly in terms of goals and training requirements. As such, it is crucial to weigh the pros and cons of each before making a decision. Cosmetic surgery may be your best bet if you want to make changes strictly for aesthetic reasons. However, plastic surgery is the right choice if you need to address a physical impairment or illness.

A consultation with a doctor is an important step in any cosmetic or plastic surgery procedure. During this consultation, a doctor will review the patient’s medical history, discuss their goals for the surgery, and answer any questions they have about the procedure. During this time, a doctor will also evaluate whether or not the patient is a good candidate for the surgery and provide advice on how to prepare for the procedure. Ultimately, it is up to the patient to make an informed decision based on all the information they have been given. With careful consideration and planning, cosmetic or plastic surgery can be a successful endeavor that helps you achieve your desired look.

Ultimately, the decision should come down to what will work best for your situation and desired results. Cosmetic surgeries focus solely on enhancing one’s physical appearance. In contrast, plastic surgeries repair damaged body parts due to trauma or disease to improve both form and function for the individual patient. No matter which type of procedure you choose, it’s always best to consult with a qualified medical professional before deciding on a surgical procedure involving your health and safety.

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