Are Cosmetic Surgeons Different from Plastic Surgeons?

June 14, 2019

With the existence of numerous and various types of amazing (and weird) medical professions and procedures that most individuals are lucky enough to benefit from, confusing the different professions and particular techniques that come with them might be quite easy. One of the most commonly confused areas as such is the difference between a plastic surgeon and a cosmetic surgeon. The two professions seem very similar in a way. However, in medical terms, the two are very much different.

The main distinction between a cosmetic surgeon and a plastic surgeon is that the latter performs surgery which looks to change the physical attributes of the human body. The confusion lies in that each has a different specialization confined to a similar field.

Now, in order to properly understand the difference between cosmetic surgeons and plastic surgeons, you must first understand in detail what plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery each are. Keep in mind that a plastic surgeon specializes in plastic surgery and a cosmetic surgeon specializes in cosmetic surgery.

What exactly is plastic surgery?

Essentially, plastic surgery is a procedure performed by very qualified surgeons in the repairing of skin and tissue damages that may have been caused by injuries or congenital diseases among other complications.

In this kind of surgery, aesthetics isn’t really the main or primary consideration since the procedure is focused on damage repair. However, as much as this is true, every single measure is naturally taken by these highly-trained surgeons to ensure that physical appearance is also taken into account. Either way, the key objective of this procedure is returning damaged tissues or skin to their normal state. This is without necessarily reshaping, re-molding or generally improving the said part in any way whatsoever.

Also referred to as reconstructive surgery, some of the most common examples of plastic surgery procedures include the following:

  • Burn repair surgery
  • Mastectomy scar repair
  • Trauma surgery
  • Breast reduction in curbing back and chronic neck pain etc.

All these procedures are performed by plastic surgeons and not cosmetic surgeons. Note that these procedures are aimed at returning the body to its normal state.

On the other hand, what is cosmetic surgery?

Cosmetic surgery, on the other hand, is a procedure with the primary focus of improving one’s physical appearance. It is often considered as elective surgery. To qualify for a cosmetic surgery procedure, one doesn’t necessarily have to have any medical condition.

As stated, the techniques, procedures, and principles of this kind of surgery are primarily, or rather entirely focused on improving the patient’s appearance. Enhancing symmetry, proportion and generally aesthetic appeal is the key goal. The procedure can be performed in any and all areas including the neck, head and any other part of the body. This kind of surgery is referred to as elective since all treated parts otherwise function normally. This kind of surgery is usually performed by medical practitioners from multiple fields of medicine, with the inclusion of plastic surgeons.

Among the most common cosmetic surgery procedures include the following:

  • Tummy tuck
  • Rhinoplasty
  • Facelift
  • Brow lift
  • Hair transplant or replacement
  • Neck lift
  • Chick or chin enhancement etc.

These are examples of the most common cosmetic surgery procedures usually performed by cosmetic surgeons.

Are cosmetic surgeons different from plastic surgeons?

Having understood the key difference between plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery, establishing the difference between a cosmetic surgeon and plastic surgeon becomes much easier. Therefore, the answer to whether or not cosmetic surgeons differ from plastic surgeons is YES, they are different.

This can be established by considering these very simple facts:

Cosmetic Surgeons

  • Cosmetic surgeons are experts and best for individuals who are looking to alter their physical appearance without necessarily having any existing medical complication.
  • There exist multiple doctors and practitioners that can be dubbed as 'cosmetic surgeons’ so you have to be very careful when seeking this procedure and who you consult.

Plastic Surgeons

  • Plastic surgeons are more qualified and extremely specialized in rectifying and addressing defects including repair of damaged skin and tissues from various complications.
  • Understand that a plastic surgeon is an individual that has undergone extensive training and teaching before being finally referred to as a plastic surgeon. Furthermore, a plastic surgeon can also perform the duties of a cosmetic surgeon, but not vice versa.

In summary, ensure that your cosmetic or plastic surgeon is properly certified before letting them perform any and all procedures on you. Additionally, no surgeon regardless of their title should undertake a cosmetic surgery procedure on you or your loved ones without providing their certification for the same.

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