Have you always considered cosmetic and plastic surgery to be one and the same? Turns out, you’re not alone. Although plastic surgery is popular, with 1.8 million people who received some type of plastic surgery procedure in 2017, confusion between plastic and cosmetic surgery still exists.
A significant number of people use the two terms interchangeably simply because they don’t know the key differentiating factors between them.
It’s true that plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery have certain similarities, but they aren’t the same. Here we discuss two ways that the two differ from each other.
1) They Have Different Goals
Both types of procedures involve some kind of physical improvement for the patient. However, the research, training, and goals of both are vastly different.
Cosmetic surgery aims to enhance the appearance of a part of the patient’s body and all techniques and procedures used focus on this aim. Things like improving the symmetry, proportion, and aesthetic appeal of a person’s body are the key goals.
All areas of the body including the head and neck can be enhanced with cosmetic surgery. From breast enhancement to body contouring to facial rejuvenation, a number of procedures are included in the scope of cosmetic surgery.
Plastic surgery on the other hand, is focused on reconstructing the body and repairing facial and body defects. These could be because of trauma, diseases, burns, or due to birth disorders. Plastic surgery is reconstructive in nature and corrects dysfunctional body areas.
A number of plastic surgeons perform cosmetic surgery after completing additional training. However, reconstructive plastic surgery remains the basis of their surgical training. Examples of plastic surgery procedures include burn repair surgery, congenital detect repair, breast reconstruction, scar revision surgery, and more.
2) They Require Different Types of Training
Since both cosmetic and plastic surgery serves different functions, each practice is built around a particular procedure set. As a result, the training and certification process for cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery are different. A post-graduate residency program is needed to complete plastic surgery training. Surgeons can take one of two routes: integrated residency training or an independent 5-year residency program.
According to the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, cosmetic surgeons don’t have any residency programs created exclusively for cosmetic surgery available to them in the U.S.
So, cosmetic surgeons primarily complete their training post residency fellowship.
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