Are they the same thing? After all, they are classified under the same field. However, there are significant differences between these two surgeries. It is beneficial to know the difference when talking about it in conversation so as not to confuse people.
So, you might ask, what is the difference? Well, plastic surgery is in
fact often misunderstood for cosmetic surgery. Cosmetic surgery is the improvement of the appearance of an individual. Either by reshaping the normal tissue or the aesthetic enhancement – hence the name ‘Aesthetic surgery’, which is often used in place of ‘cosmetic surgery’. Plastic surgery, however, differs in the reason for the surgery. Plastic surgery is done in order to reconstruct or restore any body part that has been damaged due to an accident/trauma. Damage could also be caused from something like cancer, or a birth defect. Because of this, plastic surgery can often be covered by a patient’s medical aid.
Thankfully, both cosmetic and plastic surgeons have studied to become doctors – hopefully! After completing medical school, if someone wants to become a plastic surgeon, they will need to undergo extensive training. Three years of being a surgical resident, this is where they will learn how to perform a variety of surgeries. After that, another 3 years of surgical training – this time in the desired area of plastic surgery only. Around six to eight years of practical training in a whole is needed before they become a board certified plastic surgeon.
Cosmetic surgeons don’t need nearly as much training. Some courses are less than a year long. This is obviously because cosmetic surgeons do not need the amount of extensive practical training that plastic surgeons do. The only downside to this is that it makes it easier for cosmetic surgeons to lie about whether they are board-certified or not. When trying to find a professional cosmetic surgeon, make sure that they are really board-certified.
There are a few questions that you should ask before deciding which surgeon to choose – especially when it’s a plastic surgeon. Firstly, you should ask questions about his education and training such as, where did he attend medical school? And was it one of the top medical schools? Another important question to ask about the doctor is whether or not he is Board Certified – ensuring that the doctor isn’t lying. It is also easy to get access to before and after pictures of his/her past work. After reviewing his past work, any reviews of him as a surgeon and having a look into his education and training you should be ready to make an informed decision.
Now that you know the difference between a plastic and cosmetic surgeon, you can hold your own in any conversation about plastic surgery. Hopefully you can walk away with a newfound respect for plastic surgeons, and an understanding for the work of a cosmetic surgeon.