A lot of people are quite confused about the difference between cosmetic surgery vs plastic surgery. These two terms have been synonymous for the longest time that they are used interchangeably. Here, we will know and understand how these two surgical specialties are unique from each other and what procedures are commonly performed for each specialty.
Cosmetic surgery vs plastic surgery: The definition
According to the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons, plastic surgery is a medical specialty focusing on restoring, reconstructing, and improving the form, function, and appearance of body parts that are missing, defective, damaged, or deformed. Its primary focus is reconstructive in nature.
On the other hand, the definition of cosmetic surgery as a unique discipline of medicine focuses on improving and enhancing the appearance of a body part through surgical and medical techniques. The body areas where cosmetic surgery is performed are functioning correctly but are lacking aesthetic appeal.
Based on the definition stated, it is safe to say that cosmetic surgery is a branch or a part of plastic surgery dedicated to enhancing the body aesthetically through surgical (and medical) means.
Cosmetic surgery vs plastic surgery: The Specialists
Now that we are aware of the difference between cosmetic and plastic surgery, we should also be mindful of the difference between the doctors and professionals who are practicing these surgery specialties.
In Australia, plastic surgeons spent additional 8-10 years of basic and advanced surgical training in the field of plastic surgery. After this specialised training, they are bestowed with the title FRACS or Fellows of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. Some of them even undergo several more years to attain the title Specialist Plastic Surgeon.
Meanwhile, there is no specialised training needed for doctors in Australia to perform cosmetic surgery. As long as you are a certified medical doctor, you can legally practice cosmetic surgery and can be called a cosmetic surgeon.
It is then essential that we remain vigilant and keen to details when choosing the perfect specialist to perform our cosmetic surgery. It is our right to give importance to our own safety and do all means to keep our peace of mind during a surgical procedure.
Cosmetic surgery vs Plastic surgery: The Procedures
Now that we know and understand that cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery are two different areas of medicine, we should be aware of the various surgical procedures that each discipline practices.
Plastic surgery, because it is reconstructive in nature, deals with body structures that are disfigured, missing, deformed, and damaged by disease, accident, or life-changing scenarios. Common plastic surgery procedures include but are not limited to:
- Skin grafting for burn patients, scar revision surgery, skin surgery and repair for vascular anomalies (birthmark, nevi, etc.)
- Cleft palate or lip repair,
- Breast reconstruction
- Ear defect repair
- Surgical operation of any body part with a congenital deformity
Cosmetic surgery, on the other hand, focuses on the aesthetic appeal of a treated body part. It is an elective surgical process because the need for it to be performed doesn’t necessarily affect the normal function of the treated body area. The most common cosmetic surgery procedures in Australia include the following:
- Abdominoplasty (Tummy tuck)
- Rhytidectomy (Facelift)
- Rhinoplasty (Nose job)
- Breast augmentation or reduction
Armed with this vital information, we can now be fully aware of the difference between cosmetic and plastic surgery. It is now our responsibility to keep ourselves safe and make intelligent decisions when choosing the best surgeon to perform our plastic or cosmetic surgery procedure of choice.