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What is the difference between a plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery?

Conveniently located to serve San Antonio.

I wanted to use this blog post to establish clarity regarding the differences between plastic and cosmetic procedures. I know the majority of people believe plastic and cosmetic surgeries are the same thing, but they are quite different. Often times, I have clients come in wanting plastic surgery, but after speaking with me, what they are really looking for is a cosmetic procedure. My education, certifications, training, residency and post residency experience allow me to practice both plastic and cosmetic surgery.

Plastic and cosmetic surgeries are two very different animals. Cosmetic surgery is a unique use of medicine specifically for enhancing appearance through surgical and medical techniques. Cosmetic surgery can be conducted on all areas of the head, neck and body. Cosmetic surgery is conducted for aesthetic purposes, as areas of the body that are treated function properly, but aesthetics are lacking. Plastic surgery, on the other hand, is defined as a surgical specialty dedicated to reconstruction of facial and body defects due to birth disorders, trauma, burns and disease. Plastic surgery is intended to fix dysfunctional areas of the body and is reconstructive in nature. Below are a few bullet points from The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery that further explain these differences:

Cosmetic surgery procedures enhance a person’s appearance toward some aesthetic want.

Cosmetic surgery is practiced by doctors from varying medical fields including dermatologists, facial plastic surgeons, general surgeons, gynecologists, oral and maxillofacial surgeons, ophthalmologists, otolaryngologists, plastic surgeons, as well as doctors from other fields.

As opposed to cosmetic surgery, plastic surgery focuses on repairing and reconstructing abnormal structures of the body caused by birth defects, developmental abnormalities, trauma, infection, tumors or disease.

Stay educated, my friends.

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