What is the difference between cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery

The term Plastic Surgery comes from the Greek word “plastikos” meaning “to shape or to mold.” Plastic surgery is an exciting field of medicine that encompasses cosmetic surgery, skin and laser care, skin cancer removal, reconstructive surgery, hand surgery, birth defects (cleft lips and palates). Cosmetic surgery has been pioneered.


Cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery are both medical and surgical techniques that alter some part of the body from its current state to a new state, whether that alteration is an elective enhancement or a restorative procedure. The terms “cosmetic surgery” and “plastic surgery” are often used interchangeably. Yet, if a distinction is to be made, cosmetic surgery is dedicated to cosmetic appearance enhancement of the body while plastic surgery is the specialty of repairing defects.

What does plastic surgery address?
Plastic surgery or plastic reconstructive surgery addresses physical defects from birth defects or defects that have resulted from an accident, trauma, or surgery (such as skin cancer removal surgery). A certified plastic surgeon is skilled and experienced in the advanced techniques of body reconstruction and repair of these defects.

How do I know if my surgeon has the qualifications to perform my surgery?
If you are seeking cosmetic surgery for enhancement, you will want to make sure your surgeon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. . It is important to research your potential surgeon to be sure he or she does not have any complaints against his or her license. More than one complaint or an advanced complaint that has resulted in disciplinary action are signs that you may want to pursue another surgeon. If you are seeking reconstructive surgery, be sure your surgeon is skilled and certified in the advanced techniques of plastic reconstructive surgery.

My surgeon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Is that good?
Yes. That means your surgeon graduated from an accredited medical school and “completed at least five years of additional training as a resident surgeon in a program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Medical Education or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.” 1 Surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery are specialists certified to treat the entire body. That means they are specialists in treating the facial features, neck, extremities, and the rest of the body. They are certified full body “reconstructionists.”

Who is the right surgeon for my procedure?
Finding a qualified physician whom you can trust and who is sensitive to your needs should be your ultimate goal. Dont be afraid to ask your surgeon questions or tell him that you are researching his history and results before you commit. A competent, qualified surgeon will respect your research and appreciate your personal investment.

1. The American Board of Plastic Surgery, retrieved from website https://www.abplsurg.org/ModDefault.aspx?section=Faq on February 18, 2012.