Is There A Difference Between Cosmetic And Plastic Surgery?

Is there a difference between cosmetic and plastic surgery? Cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery differ only in the reason for the procedure. When thinking of surgeries that often alter appearance people...

When thinking of surgeries that often alter appearance people think of the terms plastic surgery or cosmetic surgery. These words are often thrown around interchangeably. Are plastic and cosmetic surgeries really just the same thing? Although some may think that they are the same thing they are different.


Say a patient has a nose that he felt were out of proportion to his body. Since he was a child he has been made fun of and ridiculed for his exaggerated feature. As an adult he chooses to have a medical procedure to alter the appearance of his nose. Would this be considered a cosmetic or plastic surgery? This procedure would be cosmetic surgery.

"Cosmetic surgery typically refers to more aesthetic surgery, a surgery to improve appearance or to change the appearance of something such as a nose, eyes or eyebrows," said Charles M. Boyd M.D., M.B.A., and F.A.C.S. He has been a plastic surgeon for more than 13 years.

Cosmetic surgery is an elective surgery. The surgery is not medically needed to improve the physical well-being of the patient. The target of cosmetic surgery is generally self-esteem. Patients undergo cosmetic surgery to alter or enhance a feature and in return are happier with their bodies and are more self-confident.

Since cosmetic surgery is not deemed medically necessary then they are going to be out-of-pocket for the patient. Insurance companies do not cover surgeries that are not found to be needed to maintain or improves one's physical health.




"Plastic and reconstructive surgery, however, can involve reconstruction, removing cancerous tissues or moving tissue around. Those procedures are not necessarily cosmetic but more to restore form and function," Boyd said.

Many people associate plastic surgery with cosmetic surgery due to the title. However plastic surgery did not get its title from the material but rather from the Greek word plastikos. Plastikos means to mold or to shape. Plastic surgery is used to

Plastic surgery focuses on issues such as problematic birth defects, trauma victims and disease. For example, if a child is born with a cleft lip and palate then the surgery to correct that would be consider a reconstructive surgery. This would be listed as such because the cleft lip and palate can be problematic in the aspect that the can cause problems in areas such as speech.

Plastic surgeries seeking to restore a normal level of functioning are generally covered by insurance whereas the cosmetic surgeries do not.

Although the main purpose plastic surgery is to restore normal physical function the line between cosmetic and plastic surgery often blurs. In some cases a specific surgery may be needed to restore normal functioning. A blepharoplasty is a surgery in which droopy skin around the eye is removed. This procedure is considered to be a cosmetic surgery. However in severe cases the skin and impair vision in which case this procedure is plastic surgery but the patient will also benefit from the cosmetic improvement.

Cosmetic surgery is basically surgery with a goal of improving form. It is changing the shape of your body for the sake of making the patient happy. On the other hand, plastic surgery helps people to regain function.

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