Cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery have different goals to start with. Although both deal with improving how the patient’s body or part of the body looks, training the experts and the outcomes of the surgery are different.
Cosmetic surgery involves the procedures, techniques and principles that focus solely on the appearance of the patient. Cosmetic surgery improves the aesthetic appeal and works on the symmetry and proportion. The functioning of the areas to be treated is normal, yet the patient wants to undergo the surgery to improve on looks. So, cosmetic surgery is considered to be an elective surgery. Some examples of cosmetic surgery are breast enhancement, body contouring, facial contouring, skin rejuvenation, etc. Procedures like liposuction and tummy tuck are part of cosmetic surgery.
Plastic surgery is performed on patients who have facial or body defects as a result of birth disorders, burns, trauma or disease. The functioning of the areas to be operated is affected, but can be rectified or restored by reconstruction of the bones, muscles or skin of the area. So, plastic surgery is essentially reconstructive in nature. Some examples of plastic surgery are breast reconstruction, burn repair surgery, reconstruction of limbs, scar revision and congenital defect repairs like cleft palate and repair of extremities.
Training for Cosmetic and plastic surgery:
Training for plastic surgery involves cosmetic surgery too, while training for cosmetic surgery may not include the reconstructive procedures like hand surgery, birth defects, etc.
Qualifications of cosmetic and plastic surgeons may differ marginally in different countries. In the US, the following requirements are listed.
One out of six training categories is cosmetic surgery and the others are reconstructive surgeries to restore function of the body part.
All training categories are cosmetic surgery.
Some of the procedures of cosmetic and plastic surgeries may be minimally invasive and some may require total reconstruction. However, both procedures can have complications depending on the procedures.