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December
2016
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Cosmetic Surgery vs Plastic Surgery | Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery, Inc.

What’s the Difference Between Cosmetic Surgery and Plastic Surgery?

If you’ve always thought cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery were one in the same, you’re not alone. A significant number of plastic surgeons choose to focus their practice on cosmetic surgery, and as such, the terms are often used interchangeably. But this is not technically correct. While cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery are closely related specialties, they are not the same.
Here’s a quick look at the differences between cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery, and what you should be looking for when searching for your ideal surgeon.

What is Cosmetic Surgery?

Cosmetic surgery is a subspecialty of medicine and surgery that uniquely restricts itself to the enhancement of appearance through surgical and medical techniques. It is specifically concerned with maintaining normal appearance, restoring it, or enhancing it. Cosmetic surgery is a multi-disciplinary and comprehensive approach directed to all areas of the head, neck, and body.
Improving aesthetic appeal, symmetry, and proportion are the key goals of cosmetic surgery. Because the treated areas function properly, cosmetic surgery is elective. Cosmetic surgery is practiced by doctors from a variety of medical fields, including plastic surgery.
The scope of cosmetic surgery procedures includes:
• Breast enhancement—augmentation, lift, and reduction.
• Facial contouring—rhinoplasty, chin, or cheek enhancement.
• Facial rejuvenation—facelift, eyelid lift, neck lift, and brow lift.
• Body contouring—tummy tuck, liposuction, and gynecomastia treatment.
• Skin rejuvenation—laser resurfacing, Botox, and filler treatments.

What is Plastic Surgery?

Plastic surgery is a surgical specialty dedicated to the reconstruction of facial and body defects due to birth disorders, trauma, burns, and disease. Plastic surgery is intended to correct dysfunctional areas of the body and is reconstructive in nature. While many plastic surgeons choose to complete additional training and perform cosmetic surgery, as well, the basis of their surgical training remains reconstructive plastic surgery.
Examples of plastic surgery procedures include:
• Breast reconstruction
• Burn repair surgery
• Congenital defect repair—cleft palate, and extremity defect repair
• Lower extremity reconstruction
• Hand surgery
• Scar revision surgery

Surgical Training

As cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery each have distinct practice goals built around a specific procedure set, it only follows that the training and certification process for a board certified cosmetic surgeon will look very different from that of a board certified plastic surgeon.
Plastic surgery training
Physicians who become board certified in plastic surgery must complete a general surgery residency plus another two years in plastic surgery. Residency programs in plastic surgery may include cosmetic surgery as a portion of a surgeon’s training, but typically do not include training on every cosmetic procedure.
Therefore, the title “board certified plastic surgeon” indicates a certain level of training and experience with respect to plastic surgery, but it does not indicate the same thing with respect to cosmetic surgery, as the residency training required to become board certified in plastic surgery may not include training with respect to many common cosmetic procedures. Nor does it tell you that the doctor has more or less cosmetic surgery training than a physician board certified in another specialty.
Cosmetic surgery training
The educational profile of a cosmetic surgeon is unique in that it begins with a fully trained and board certified physician. Through continued post-residency education, training, and experience, cosmetic surgery is taught and learned across traditional disciplinary boundaries. The subspecialty fully incorporates the participation and knowledge from all contributing disciplines to attain a high level of skill and understanding. Contributing disciplines include dermatologic surgery, facial plastic surgery, general surgery, plastic surgery, otolaryngology, oculoplastic surgery, oral-maxillofacial surgery, and others.

Consult with the Best Surgeon

If you are looking for renowned plastic surgeon who also delivers the peerless aesthetic results of a cosmetic surgeon, then you should book a consultation with Dr. Gabriel Chiu at Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery, Inc. With a keen eye for detail and an active passion for aesthetic plastic surgery, he is one of Beverly Hills’ top plastic surgeons.