It is a common notion for people to use the terms cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery interchangeably, thinking it to be the same. However, it is not the same – there are fine distinctions between the two specialities. The main reason why these two terms are confused to be the same is because both involve changing the physical appearance of the body – but this is the only similarity there is.
Read on to know the differences between cosmetic and plastic surgery –
Why is it done?
Cosmetic surgery is an elective surgical procedure that a patient chooses to undergo only to enhance his/her physical appearance aesthetically. It is generally done for visual improvement of areas that a person may be unhappy with, like the nose, forehead or lips that may have been a reason of stress or embarrassment. Though not considered essential if seen in medical terms, it can greatly affect a person emotionally.
Plastic surgery is a more of an essential procedure that is performed to repair damages to tissues and skin that may have been caused by injuries like burns or congenital diseases. The primary objective of undergoing this surgery is to return the damaged skin/tissue to its normal state, and not improve or reshape it in any way.
Examples of cosmetic surgery include liposuction, tummy tucks, rhinoplasty (nose jobs), face lifts, breast or buttock augmentation, hair transplant, arm lifts, etc.
Examples of plastic surgery are skin grafts to treat injuries after a burn or an accident, correction of cleft palates, breast reconstruction post mastectomy, tissue expansion, microsurgery, etc.
Who can have it?
Anyone can opt for cosmetic surgery, provided that their physical and mental health meet the requirement for undergoing it. People normally opt for it when they are unhappy with a certain part of their body and other procedures have failed to achieve the desired results. Cosmetic surgeries are mostly done to tackle signs of aging like sagging skin, wrinkles or drooping breasts.
Patients who have suffered from an accident or undergone a major operation become the candidates of plastic surgery. It may be performed during the initial treatment, or there can also be additional surgeries from time to time to repair the damage completely.
Cosmetic surgery can aesthetically improve the appearance of the body. For example, women often experience a lot of changes in their breast and abdomen area after pregnancy or losing a lot of weight. Cosmetic surgery can help restore the body to its original form. Apart from that, it can also have psychological benefits like boosting confidence in the patient post surgery.
Plastic surgery can effectively cover up areas of skin to disguise or eliminate any disfigurement caused by burns, accidents or congenital defect. The damaged skin and tissues are restored and healed so that it can appear and function as normally as possible. The surgery can also improve a person’s self-esteem (for example breast reconstruction after mastectomy where the operation may leave an negative impact of femininity on the patient).
Who performs it?
A plastic surgeon can perform both plastic and cosmetic surgery, but all cosmetic surgeons cannot perform plastic surgery. The reason for this is that the qualification level of a plastic surgeon is very high. A cosmetic surgeon need not have such extensive training, though it is important that they should also be highly qualified.
Plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery may be different, but both are like an investment in the body. Always remember to choose a professional and experienced surgeon for such procedures, and you will be less likely to face any complications or problems.