What’s The Difference Between Cosmetic Surgery & Plastic Surgery?

john park plastic surgery What's The Difference Between Cosmetic Surgery _ Plastic Surgery

What’s The Difference Between Cosmetic Surgery & Plastic Surgery?

The Rise Of Elective Surgery In The US

Over the past ten years, the amount of Americans undergoing cosmetic and plastic surgery has skyrocketed. In 2020 alone, 5,707,236 procedures were performed partially due to the increase in online meetings. As plastic and cosmetic surgeries enter the mainstream, procedures such as facelifts, rhinoplasties and liposuction become accessible and attainable to the average person. While often used interchangeably, cosmetic and plastic surgery have several key differences, and ultimately, different goals. Cosmetic surgery is used to enhance a patient’s physical appearance, while plastic surgery focuses on repairing dysfunctional parts of the body. Both disciplines seek to boost self-confidence in patients, but being informed about the differences is integral to achieving a patient’s internal goals for surgery.

Enhancing aesthetics with cosmetic procedures

Cosmetic surgery is a unique discipline focused on improving overall patient satisfaction through medical and surgical intervention. Surgeons focus on enhancing a patient’s appearance by correcting symmetry, proportion, and overall aesthetic appeal. Since cosmetic surgery is focused on aesthetics rather than function, cosmetic surgery is classified as elective. Examples of elective cosmetic surgeries include breast augmentations, cheek enhancements, and liposuction. Cosmetic surgery procedures can be performed by plastic surgeons, in addition to medical doctors from a diverse set of fields.

Healing function with plastic surgery

While many plastic surgeons may choose to perform cosmetic surgery after receiving additional training, the primary focus of the plastic surgery discipline is reconstructive surgery. Many experts note that plastic and reconstructive surgeons work toward the same purpose of correcting dysfunctional parts of the body. Patients with facial or body deficiencies due to congenital disabilities, trauma, or disease are ideal candidates for plastic surgery. Since plastic surgery corrects function rather than aesthetics, plastic surgery procedures are designated as nonelective. Examples of nonelective plastic surgeries include burn repair surgeries, breast reconstruction, and congenital defect repair. To perform plastic surgery, doctors must be board certified with experience in several different types of reconstructive surgery.

Which one is right for me?

As plastic surgery continues to gain popularity and enter the mainstream, many patients will start looking into cosmetic or plastic surgery to determine the best fit. At a high level, patients concerned with creating symmetry and aesthetics should pursue cosmetic surgery, while patients looking to correct function should pursue plastic surgery. While cosmetic and plastic surgery is often used interchangeably, outlining the differences to each patient is foundational to ensuring satisfaction no matter the surgery.

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