The Difference Between Cosmetic Surgery and Plastic Surgery
The terms cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery are often used interchangeably. While they are related, and many surgeons are board certified in both, technically, they are not the same.
Cosmetic surgery is a type of plastic surgery, but cosmetic surgeons do not always have the training and certifications required to perform plastic surgery, such as reconstructive surgical procedures.
Both cosmetic and plastic surgery can be used to enhance aesthetics or to address a medical need, but the training and research a physician undergoes are different for each.
Plastic Surgeons and Plastic Surgery
Plastic surgeons have not only gone to medical school but have also completed at least six to eight years of specific training through an accredited plastic surgery training program.
No one can call themselves a plastic surgeon, not even cosmetic surgeons, unless they have completed specific training by an accredited plastic surgery training program.
Plastic surgery is a broad field that includes both aesthetic and reconstructive procedures to treat parts of the body affected aesthetically or functionally due to things such as deformities, tumors, burns, etc.
Breast reconstruction following a mastectomy, breast reduction, skin grafting, and rhinoplasty to correct a deviated septum are all examples of plastic surgery procedures. Only plastic surgeons are qualified to perform these surgeries.
Cosmetic Surgeons and Plastic Surgery
Cosmetic surgeons have also gone to medical school and completed continuing education but have not received the training required to become a plastic surgeon.
Cosmetic surgery procedures are considered purely elective and do not involve reconstructing the body. They are performed to enhance or reshape parts of the body that are already functioning properly. Examples of cosmetic surgeries could include a breast lift, breast augmentation, liposuction, facelifts and, in many cases, a nose job.
Now, this does not mean a plastic surgeon is not a qualified cosmetic surgeon. For example, Dr. Garza at Garza Plastic Surgery Nashville is trained and double board certified in both cosmetic and plastic surgery.
This also does not mean a cosmetic surgeon can’t perform many of the same surgeries that a plastic surgeon can. Many procedures, such as breast augmentation and rhinoplasty, fall into both categories and can be performed by either a board-certified cosmetic surgeon or a board-certified plastic surgeon.
Another difference is that insurance does not cover cosmetic surgery since these procedures are purely aesthetic. However, some insurance companies will cover plastic surgery if it is deemed medically necessary.
Why Knowing The Difference Is Important
The main reason you need to understand the difference between a cosmetic surgeon and a plastic surgeon is so you can select a surgeon that is skilled and certified to perform your specific procedure.
Unfortunately, many doctors market themselves as plastic surgeons and do procedures beyond the scope of their training and vice versa. A cosmetic surgeon might not be qualified to perform some surgical procedures, and while they legally can, not all plastic surgeons specialize in cosmetic surgery.
Furthermore, any physician can call themselves a cosmetic surgeon, even your primary care physician or gynecologist. In other words, just because a surgeon or physician “can” doesn’t mean they “should.”
If you are considering having cosmetic or plastic surgery, ensure they are board-certified for the particular surgery you want to have done and ensure they frequently perform the procedure. Additionally, look carefully at before-and-after pictures, read testimonials and reviews outside the surgeon’s website, and seek referrals from former patients.
We should also note there are non-invasive procedures called cosmetic treatments. These are very different from both cosmetic and plastic surgeries.
Cosmetic treatments such as botox, fillers and lasers do not involve a scalpel and do not need to be performed by a surgeon.
These procedures can be performed by surgeons if they have undergone training but are typically performed by trained board-certified nurses and estheticians.
Licencing and Certification Are Key
You should always ensure that the person performing your procedure is licensed to practice in the state where they work. They should also be board-certified and practice at a well-respected and established cosmetic surgery center.
If you are considering Garza Plastic Surgery Nashville, you can rest assured that our medical staff is licensed and board certified. In fact, our surgeon, Dr. Robert Garza, MD, FACS, is a double board-certified aesthetic and reconstructive plastic surgeon by the American Board of
Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Surgery and is qualified to perform both cosmetic and plastic surgery procedures.
The Benefits of Getting Cosmetic or Plastic Surgery
There is nothing wrong with wanting a cosmetic or surgical procedure to enhance your natural beauty, change something about your appearance that makes you uncomfortable, or even to look more like your favorite celebrity or Instagram model.
However, some people turn to plastic surgery for reasons beyond wanting to improve their appearance. Numerous physical defects and health reasons could lead someone to opt for a cosmetic or plastic surgery procedure. Some insurance companies even reimburse the cost of some of these procedures if they are deemed medically necessary.
Here are a few of the most common scenarios where cosmetic or plastic surgery might be a “need” rather than a “want.”
While many women want to have a full “mommy makeover” to get their pre-baby body back, there are medical reasons many women need surgery following birth. A woman might need a tummy tuck to relieve diastasis recti or stress urinary incontinence.
A significant amount of weight loss often leaves behind excess skin. Many people have a tummy tuck or body lift to get rid of these flaps because they can be irritating. Additionally, they can lead to hygiene problems that increase the potential for infections.
Many people need a facelift or eyelid lift to help improve their vision if the skin on their eyelids starts to droop over the eye. Eyelid surgery can also be an excellent procedure for those who want to treat or prevent astigmatism and lazy eye issues.
Breast augmentation and reconstruction are very popular procedures for those that have had a mastectomy following a breast cancer diagnosis.
Complications Due To Having Oversized Breasts
Breast reduction surgery can help relieve many chronic discomforts that come with oversized breasts. Back pain, neck pain, and shoulder grooving from bra straps are the most common reasons women for breast reduction. Having large breasts can also lead women to have poor posture, which has numerous adverse effects on both short and long-term health.
When it comes to nose jobs, they are a very common plastic surgery procedure performed to correct a medical condition or injury, such as chronic sinus problems, a deviated septum, a broken nose, or a birth deformity.
The 5 Most Common Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery Procedures
There are dozens of plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures to choose from, whether for a medical reason, to correct a birth deformity, or purely for aesthetics.
Here are the five most common:
Breast augmentation is a surgical procedure to increase the breasts’ size, shape, or fullness. This very popular surgery can be performed purely for cosmetic reasons or as part of reconstructive surgery following a mastectomy.
There are several different types of breast implants. The two most common are saline and silicone. There are also various incision options. Incisions can be done in the crease under the breast, in the armpit, around the nipple, or through the belly button. Placement is another thing you will need to decide. Implants can be placed under the pectoral muscle or over the pectoral muscle.
Your surgeon will help you decide which size, implant style, and insertion and placement method are best for you and your body.
Nose Job (rhinoplasty)
People desire a nose job for many reasons. They might feel their nose is too large or have a bump or hump that makes them feel insecure. Others have a crooked nose and want it straightened. These patients will have a rhinoplasty procedure that changes the shape and appearance of their external nose.
However, rhinoplasty isn’t only performed on the outside of the nose. Often, people need internal surgery of the nose to improve breathing, sinus conditions or due to an injury.
There are actually 5 different types of nose jobs; some are even non-surgical and use filler to change the appearance of the nose. Both temporary and permanent fillers can be used in these procedures.
Liposuction, also called suction-assisted lipectomy, lipoplasty, liposculpture suction, lipectomy, lipo, or body contouring, is a type of cosmetic surgery where a surgeon breaks up and removes excess fat from the body using a thin tube attached to a vacuum.
Liposuction isn’t a substitute for weight loss; it is a way of changing the body’s shape and contour, typically in areas where fat is most stubborn and resistant to diet and exercise.
The most common areas where lipo is performed are: under the chin, on the hips, thighs, butt, stomach, “love handles,” and under arm and breast areas.
Eyelid Surgery (blepharoplasty)
Pending the problem area of the eyelid and a patient’s desired outcome, blepharoplasty surgery might be performed on only the upper lids, lower lids, or both.
During the procedure, surgeons will remove excess skin, muscle and/or fatty tissue to help reduce bagginess from lower eyelids and improve hooding of the upper eyelids. Sometimes tissues can be repositioned rather than removed.
Droopy eyelids can make you look older and tired, which is why many opt to have eyelid surgery as a cosmetic procedure. However, this drooping can also cause vision problems. In this instance, blepharoplasty might be deemed medically necessary and covered by insurance.
Facelift surgery aims to lift, tighten and firm sagging facial tissues, leaving you with a less lined, firmer and more youthful facial appearance.
A full facelift, also referred to as a rhytidectomy, means the entire face (forehead, brows, eyes, jawline and neck) is lifted. This is the most invasive surgery to improve the visible signs of aging in the face and neck.
If the idea of a full facelift sounds like a little too much for you, you might want to consider a mini facelift or just a brow lift, eyelid lift, or neck lift. There are also non-surgical options that can provide less drastic but similar results to a facelift, such as fillers, liquid facelifts, ultrasound treatment, and thread lifting.
Does Plastic Surgery Have Risks?
In some cases, plastic surgery can do more than enhance aesthetics; it can improve a person’s quality of life. That said, no surgery is without risk, mentally or physically.
While most surgical risks are extremely rare, they are a possibility. Any surgery or procedure where a foreign object is placed in the body can have unwanted side effects.
There are different risk factors specific to the surgical procedure; however, a few risks are common with any surgery.
These might include:
- Excess bleeding
- Blood clots
- Nerve damage
- Excess swelling
- Negative reactions to anesthesia
In addition to possible physical reactions, one should also consider their mental health.
If you have ever been diagnosed with an eating disorder, suffered from body dysmorphia, or have extreme feelings of low self-worth and strong negative emotions about your physical appearance, it’s strongly advised you consult a physician or psychologist before pursuing cosmetic surgery.
The most important thing you can do to lessen your chance of a negative outcome following plastic surgery is to check your surgeon’s credentials, get references, and ask many questions during your consultation.
You should also ensure that you go into surgery in the best health possible and always discuss any bad habits, such as smoking or other health considerations, with your surgeon before scheduling your surgery.
How Much Does Plastic Surgery Cost?
Pricing information is typically not disclosed on company websites because the exact cost of a surgical procedure will vary based on a patient’s specific needs and desired results.
When you get a quote for your procedure, the total cost will include several expenses such as surgeon fees, materials, operating room costs, staff salaries, anesthesia, medications or other post-surgical devices, and follow-up appointments.
The average price for the five most common plastic surgery procedures above ranges from as low as 3 to 4 thousand dollars, up to $15,000 and beyond.
You should always keep in mind that you get what you pay for. While surgery cost is an important factor to consider, your highest priority should be finding the most qualified and experienced surgeon for your specific needs.
Following a consultation at Garza Plastic Surgery in Nashville, our team can give you a better idea of how much your desired procedure will cost, if it is something your insurance might cover, and go over different payment options and plans.
Schedule Your Cosmetic or Plastic Surgery Procedure in Nashville
At Garza Plastic Surgery in Nashville, our staff would love to talk about your goals and any questions you have that might help you decide if a cosmetic or plastic surgery procedure is something you should consider.
We can even help to work with your insurance company to see if the procedure is something they might deem medically necessary.
If you have more questions or are ready to schedule your plastic surgery consultation, call us at 615.620.7800.