Two terms often used interchangeably but hold distinct meanings and purposes are “cosmetic surgery” and “plastic surgery.” Understanding these differences can help individuals make informed decisions when considering surgical interventions to alter their appearance. Somerset Plastic Surgery can help guide you through the surgery process and provide the results you’re looking for. Here’s the difference between cosmetic and plastic surgery:

Reconstructive Plastic Surgery: Healing and Restoring

The primary focus of plastic surgery is reconstructive. Reconstructive plastic surgery involves repairing defects or abnormalities caused by congenital conditions, trauma, disease, or surgical procedures. This branch of surgery aims to restore normal function and appearance to the affected area, enhancing the patient’s quality of life. Breast reconstruction after a mastectomy, cleft lip and palate repair, and scar modification are a few examples of reconstructive plastic surgery.

Plastic surgeons are specialists in restoring form and function to the body. They deeply understand anatomy, tissue healing, and surgical techniques required to address complex medical conditions. Many plastic surgeons also choose to specialize in specific areas, such as hand surgery or craniofacial surgery, to provide specialized care for patients with unique needs.

Cosmetic Surgery: Enhancing Aesthetics

Cosmetic surgery is a subset of plastic surgery focusing exclusively on enhancing a person’s appearance. Cosmetic procedures are elective, meaning they are not medically necessary but chosen by individuals who wish to improve their aesthetic features. These procedures enhance symmetry, proportion, and overall appearance, often aiming to rejuvenate or improve specific body areas.

Standard cosmetic surgery procedures include breast augmentation, facelifts, liposuction, rhinoplasty (nose job), and tummy tucks. Cosmetic surgeons, like plastic surgeons, receive specialized training, but their primary focus is aesthetic improvement rather than medical reconstruction. They must also be board-certified, but their expertise lies in achieving the desired cosmetic outcome for their patients.

The Overlapping Realm of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery

It’s important to note that there is a considerable overlap between cosmetic and plastic surgery, particularly in aesthetic plastic surgery. Aesthetic plastic surgery bridges the gap between reconstructive and cosmetic procedures, often combining both elements to improve appearance while addressing medical concerns. For example, breast reduction surgery can alleviate physical discomfort caused by large breasts while enhancing the patient’s aesthetics.

Education and Training

Plastic and cosmetic surgeons undergo extensive education and training to become proficient in their respective fields. To become a plastic surgeon, one typically completes medical school, followed by a residency program in plastic surgery. This training process makes sure plastic surgeons have a deep understanding of the underlying structures of the body and the skills required to perform complex reconstructive procedures.

Cosmetic surgeons follow a similar path through medical school but may choose to pursue additional training in cosmetic surgery. This is done through fellowships or specialized programs. While they focus on enhancing aesthetics, they must also possess a comprehensive understanding of anatomy and surgical techniques to achieve optimal cosmetic results. You can trust our team of skilled experts at Somerset Plastic Surgery to take good care of you. Our doctors have all received advanced degrees in their respective fields, so you know you’re in good hands.

Patient Considerations

Patients should consider their specific needs and goals when deciding between cosmetic and plastic surgery. If a person is seeking treatment for a congenital defect, the correction of a medical condition, or the reconstruction of a body part following trauma or surgery, a plastic surgeon is the appropriate choice. These specialists prioritize function and form restoration while improving the patient’s quality of life.

Conversely, those looking to enhance their appearance for purely cosmetic reasons should consult a cosmetic surgeon. Cosmetic surgeons are skilled in providing aesthetic improvements, focusing on achieving the desired look while maintaining safety and natural results.

Somerset Cosmetic Surgery and You

We at Somerset Plastic Surgery can help you decide which procedure best suits your needs. You can decide if cosmetic or plastic surgery is the best option. You will receive high-quality, personalized care from our knowledgeable staff. Contact us today to learn more about our surgical procedures and other alternative treatments.