Although many people think cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery are the same procedures, there are significant differences between the two. One of the main dissimilarities is that a variety of specialists in different medical fields can practice cosmetic surgery, but plastic surgery is practiced by a surgeon certified in very specific fields. Both types of surgeries can be performed on all areas of the body, including the face and extremities.
What is Cosmetic Surgery?
Cosmetic surgery refers to aesthetics. It is a discipline that involves improving or changing the appearance of a certain area. This type of procedure is elective because it is not a medical necessity. Since it is not needed to improve or maintain the health of the patient, in most cases the person undergoing the surgery will need to pay all out-of-pocket expenses. The reason for needing surgery often determines whether or not it is cosmetic.
A person who elects to have cosmetic surgery may simply want to enhance his or her physical appearance. The area an individual wants treated will most likely lack visual appeal, but it may function normally. A cosmetic surgeon uses various medical and surgical techniques to alter the structure of the problem area and improve the overall form. This type of surgery is basically a way to change the shape of the body or face.
Most people want cosmetic surgery in order to improve their self esteem or to feel comfortable in their own skin. A person’s features can be enhanced through a variety of techniques. The typical result is the patient looking better and feeling more confident about his or her appearance. In essence, the surgeon sculpts an area that is already normal, and creates a practically perfect aesthetic for the patient.
There is a large assortment of surgeries that are considered to be cosmetic. Breast Lifts or breast reduction, tummy tucks, thigh lifts and facelifts are all common cosmetic surgeries. Less invasive procedures include liposuction and hair replacement treatments. Popular cosmetic surgeries involving the face include rhinoplasty, eyelid lifts and the insertion of cheekbone implants.
What is Plastic Surgery?
Plastic surgery is meant to restore function or form to a specific area. The process involves the reformation or transferring of the body tissue. A plastic surgeon may repair and reconstruct the area in order to correct any dysfunction. Physical abnormalities or malformations often create health complications. Plastic surgery focuses on restructuring the affected area so it operates normally and healthily.
Some procedures may be labeled as cosmetic or plastic surgery. Many insurance companies only provide coverage for plastic surgeries. If the deformity causes health complications or the level of functioning is abnormal in the area needing treatment, the procedure will be considered plastic surgery. Any facial or body reconstruction due to injury, trauma, disease, birth defects or infection falls under this category.
Skin grafting, repairing a broken nose, correcting carpal tunnel syndrome, fixing a cleft lip and mending webbed fingers or toes are all plastic surgery procedures. A patient who has abnormalities due to cancer or other diseases may undergo plastic surgery in order to restore or replace the damaged areas. In some cases, breast reconstruction and rhinoplasty are required for improving the health of the individual and may be defined as plastic surgery.
Although the general purpose of plastic surgery is to reestablish the proper functioning of a certain area, the result is often cosmetic related. This may be why so many people confuse the two types of surgeries. Anyone who is considering plastic or cosmetic surgery should know what each procedure entails. Understanding the difference between the two is the best way to stay safe and to be sure the right decisions are made.