Many have asked, what is the difference between a plastic surgeon and a cosmetic surgeon? They have often been confused to mean the same thing, but guess what? This is wrong and it is going to be proven in this article.
Who exactly is a plastic surgeon
A plastic surgeon is a type of doctor who is specialized in surgical operations involving aesthetic reconstruction of body tissues. The word Plastic here simply means to shape or mold the body. This type of surgeon is also equipped with capabilities to rectify burns on the skin, birth disorders and other bodily diseases such as cancer that distort the normal appearance of a person.
Who are cosmetic surgeons?
Cosmetic surgeons are professional doctors who do surgical operations that are aimed at enhancing the general appearance of a person. These operations are done on body parts that have abnormal shapes, or shapes that do not align perfectly with the overall symmetry of a person. Their main goal is to enhance the appearance of the patient.
So what are the differences between the two?
The differences here come as a result of the fact that these two surgeons have completely different goals in their line of work. Of course they both have specialties in enhancing the look of the body of their patient, but they technically undergo different educational expeditions.
As seen above, a cosmetic specialist’s main goal is to enhance the appearance of the patient’s body, while a plastic surgeon is more of a correction and repair guy. Plastic surgeons focus on removing and correcting body defects such as cancer, scars, burns and trauma for the patient to have a normal and biologically functioning body. Cosmetic surgeons mostly work on the proportionality and symmetry of body parts such as facelifts, tummy tucks, breast augmentation and lifting.
The second difference is that these two surgeons undergo two completely different training and practice. They perform surgical operations where each of them have certain specific procedures with their own rules, guidelines and regulations. It is vital to note that the accreditation bodies established to overlook procedures in plastic surgeons and cosmetic surgeons training are different. Inherently, each end up with totally diverse certifications.A good example is the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).
The third difference comes from the fact that plastic surgeons and cosmetic surgeons have educational programs set for each to attend. Cosmetic surgeons have to pass through a residency training session which is done after the successful completion of surgery training. On the other hand, plastic surgeons complete their academic qualifications by going for an additional post-graduate residency program. Both have to gain experience before they work on real patients, which is why they undertake fellowship and training in different places.
Lastly it is important to note that not all cosmetic surgeons can perform reconstructive surgical operations. This is mainly due to the fact that they may have not gone through aesthetic training, which is purely dependent on the board of certifications they are approved by. However, plastic surgeons are fully equipped with aesthetic training and reconstructive surgical operations from the 6 years they spend in medical schools and fellowship.
Why is it important to know the difference?
Knowing the distinction between cosmetic surgeons and a plastic surgeon is important in determining the type of surgical operation to undergo and which specific surgeon to go to. They have different qualifications and based on that it is easy to identify the procedure to go for.
It is advisable for people to be keen in checking their credentials and counterchecking with certification bodies such the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). This body will greatly help in finding out the surgeons’ experience, licensing information, and competence in a specific surgical procedure.