What is the difference between plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery?
The terms plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery are often used interchangeably. Although both disciplines of medical science aim at improving a person’s body, they are different from each other in many aspects. Even the cosmetic and plastic surgeons may have different qualifications and expertise. The differences between cosmetic and plastic surgery are as follows
- Plastic surgery: This is the surgical specialty that deals with the reconstruction of facial and body defects due to birth disorders, injuries, burns and diseases. It is reconstructive, which means it is focused on correcting the dysfunctional areas of the body. It is also called reconstructive surgery.
- Cosmetic surgery: This is the branch of medicine dedicated toward the enhancement of appearance through various surgical and medical techniques. It can be performed anywhere on the body including the face, neck, chest and abdomen. The area to be treated is not dysfunctional, but may need to be aesthetically enhanced according to the patient. It is also called aesthetic surgery.
2. Whether elective or emergency procedure
- Plastic surgery: This may be done as an elective or emergency surgery. Emergency means there is an urgent threat to the person’s life, organ, limb or any other part of the body. For example, plastic surgery may be done for scalp lacerations (deep scalp wounds), nasal injuries, lacerations on the face, etc.
- Cosmetic surgery: Cosmetic surgery is always an elective procedure because the area to be treated is not dysfunctional, but may need to be aesthetically enhanced according to the patient.
3. Why is it done (indications)
- Plastic surgery: This is performed to repair defects or damage on the face or body and to reconstruct the dysfunctional or nonfunctional areas. Plastic surgery may be done for
- Repair of the hand
- Burn repair
- Cleft lip or palate repair
- Mastectomy (breast removal surgery) scar repair
- Breast reduction for chronic neck and back pain
- Scar revision surgery (done to minimize a scar so that it is less visible and blends well with the surrounding skin tone and texture)
- Reconstruction of the lower limbs (legs, thighs, feet or toes)
- Trauma surgery
- Cosmetic surgery: This is done to improve the appearance or aesthetic appeal of a part of the body. The part concerned is functionally normal. Some examples of cosmetic surgery are as follows
4. Whether insurance is applicable
- Plastic surgery: Because plastic surgery is medically necessary to restore function of a damaged or defective part of the body, it may be covered by medical insurance. The patient should ask their insurance provider for details.
- Cosmetic surgery: Because cosmetic surgery deals with aesthetic enhancement in the absence of medical indications, it may not be covered by medical insurance. The patient should contact their insurance provider for details.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
American Board of Cosmetic Surgery
California Academy of Cosmetic Sugery
Top Difference Plastic Surgery and Cosmetic Surgery Related Articles
Slideshow: The Truth About Beauty Product DangersLearn the truth about beauty product dangers. Hair straighteners, dyes, shampoos, creams, and cosmetics are bad for your health. Learn the options for those who want fewer and gentler chemicals in their beauty products.
BlepharitisBlepharitis is inflammation of the eyelids. Acne rosacea, staphylococcal bacteria, allergies, sensitivities to makeup or contact lens solutions, head lice, or other conditions may cause blepharitis. Symptoms and signs include itchy eyelids, burning sensation in the eyes, crusting of the eyelids, light sensitivity, red, swollen eyelids, loss of eyelashes, and dandruff of the lashes and eyebrows. Proper eyelid hygiene and a regular cleaning routine controls blepharitis.
Blepharitis PictureBlepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids and occurs in two forms, anterior (outside of the eyelid) and posterior (inner eyelid). See a picture of Blepharitis and learn more about the health topic.
Blepharoplasty (Eyelid Surgery)Eyelid surgery, also called blepharoplasty, is a cosmetic procedure in which drooping of the lower and/or upper eyelids is reduced by removing excess skin, muscle, and fat. Complications of the procedure include bleeding, infection, dry eyes, an inability to fully close the eyes, eyelid skin that folds in or out abnormally, abnormal skin discoloration of the eyelids, and a pulled-down lower lid lash line or a possible loss of vision.
Breast Augmentation and ImplantsBreast augmentation refers to the surgical implantation of a silicone or saline implant to give the breast a fuller appearance. Potential complications of the procedure include
- asymmetry, and
- hardening of the breast.
Can a Tummy Tuck Cause Stomach Issues?Stomach cramps are the most common side effect after the tummy tuck procedure. Abdominoplasty or tummy tuck is a cosmetic procedure to remove excess skin and fat from the abdomen or tummy. Scarring, pain, swelling and other issues may occur after a tummy tuck.
What Homemade Remedy Can You Use for Under Eye Puffiness?Under eye puffiness may take time to resolve. Often, they are a result of stressful schedules, eye strain, eye allergies or even hormonal changes. Treatment of under eye puffiness and dark circles involves medical treatment and natural remedies. Home remedies can temporarily reduce under eye puffiness.
How Long Does an SMAS Facelift Last?A facelift is a type of cosmetic surgery to provide a younger, firmer appearance to your face. Superficial musculo aponeurotic system (SMAS) is the group of facial muscles and tissues that tend to become saggy with aging.
How Much Does It Cost for Laser Skin Resurfacing?Laser resurfacing is a procedure that removes layers of the skin and improves its appearance or treats minor facial flaws such as blemishes or acne scars by using lasers.
Laser Eye SurgeryHow does LASIK work? Get information on this popular laser eye surgery, the procedure, success rates, and possible vision side effects from LASIK eye surgery.
Laser ResurfacingLaser resurfacing involves directing concentrated pulsating beams of light at irregular skin. This procedure may be used to reduce wrinkles, blemished, or acne scars. There are two types of lasers commonly used in laser resurfacing: carbon dioxide and erbium. Treated areas heal in 10-21 days. Possible complications include milia, hyperpigmentation, and swelling.
Nip and Tuck: Plastic Surgery for MenFrom liposuction to facelifts, more men are having procedures to look better. WebMD shows you the more popular plastic surgery choices many make, including hair transplants and microdermabrasion.
Non-Surgical Face LiftsSee before and after photos of the latest in nonsurgical cosmetic procedures for the face such as Botox, laser, and peel treatments. Learn ways to look younger without surgery.
What Are Dimples Caused By?Dimples are small dents most seen on the cheeks on either side of the mouth, but they can also appear on other parts of the body. Dimples are often hereditary.
What Is CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing?CO2 laser skin resurfacing is a procedure involving the use of carbon dioxide (CO2) and a skin surface-removing laser (ablative laser) to remove scars, warts and deep wrinkles. CO2 skin laser resurfacing can also be used to treat age spots, sun-damaged skin and superficial to deep hyperpigmentation.