Is Cosmetic Surgery the Same as Plastic Surgery?


Is Cosmetic Surgery the Same as Plastic Surgery?

August 6, 2021

Do you know the difference between cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery? While these terms can sometimes be used interchangeably, they have very different and distinct meanings. And if you’re electing to undergo either type of procedure, it’s important to know the difference so you can find the most qualified professional to do the job. Here’s what you need to know about cosmetic vs. plastic surgery.

What is plastic surgery?

Cosmetic surgery, plastic surgery - is there really that much of a difference? When it comes to the reconstructive work that plastic surgeons undertake every day, there is most certainly a difference. This type of surgery is often a necessary procedure, designed to return patients to their desired quality of life.

MU Health Care tells us more about what plastic surgery encompasses:
“Plastic surgery is a broad field that encompasses both cosmetic (aesthetic) procedures and reconstructive procedures. Reconstructive surgery focuses on repairing or reconstructing problems caused by congenital deformities, tumor removals such as cancer, trauma, or other reasons. Some other lesser-known plastic surgery procedures include carpal tunnel surgery, microsurgery, rhinoplasty, and peripheral nerve surgery.”

What is cosmetic surgery?

While plastic surgery can include aesthetic procedures, cosmetic surgery is entirely aesthetic and is an elective procedure. However, this doesn’t mean that cosmetic surgery cannot drastically improve one’s quality of life by giving them the confidence to go about their everyday lives.

The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery explains the goal and purpose of cosmetic surgery:
“The procedures, techniques, and principles of cosmetic surgery are entirely focused on enhancing a patient’s appearance. Improving aesthetic appeal, symmetry, and proportion are the key goals. An aesthetic surgery can be performed on all areas of the head, neck, and body. Since cosmetic procedures treat areas that function properly, cosmetic surgery is designated as elective. Cosmetic elective procedures are performed by doctors from a variety of medical fields, including plastic surgeons.”

Which procedure is right for you?

Of course, it’s necessary to understand your exact situation before determining which procedure may be right for you. It’s important to consult a doctor (ideally one who has training in both procedures) if you are unsure. You may need a combination of both types of surgeries in order to correct your concerns.

The Plastic Surgery Center of Baton Rouge gives us an example of a case where both types of surgeries may be required:
“A great example of someone who may need both cosmetic and plastic surgery is a patient who has experienced massive weight loss. Losing a large amount of weight causes loose skin in various parts of the body, especially in the mid-section. For this patient, cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery procedures may be needed in order to restore function and aesthetics.”

I’m Ashley Mills, a Registered Practical Nurse & Certified Cosmetic Injector. I started LYFT Medical Aesthetics in Collingwood, ON to help make injectable cosmetic treatments accessible to a wider audience. Contact us to book your free consultation today!