Know the Difference Between Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery?

What is plastic surgery? Depending on who you are talking to, the term plastic surgery can mean a lot of different things. Many people consider plastic surgery just unnecessary procedures to make someone look better. Technically, “plastic surgery” covers two kinds of sub-specialties: cosmetic and reconstructive procedures. Dr. Peterson performs both cosmetic and reconstructive facial and body procedures.


What Is Reconstructive Plastic Surgery?

As the name implies, reconstructive plastic surgery reconstructs or restores function or natural appearance to a part of the face or body damaged by illness or injury. Reconstructive plastic surgery can also correct congenital deformities.

Many reconstructive plastic surgery procedures are considered medically necessary. Examples of reconstructive plastic surgery procedures include cleft lip and palate surgery, breast reconstruction after mastectomy or to correct tubular or misshapen breasts, and scar-revision treatments.

What Is Cosmetic Surgery?

Cosmetic surgery includes surgical procedures designed to change or enhance an individual’s appearance. These procedures are usually considered elective versus medically necessary and include breast procedures like breast implant augmentation and the breast-lift, body-sculpting procedures like liposuction and tummy tucks, and facial surgeries like the face-lift, neck-lift and eyelid-lift procedures.

Clear as Mud, Right?

Sort of. The difference between the two kinds of procedures is not always that cut and dried. Many procedures have both reconstructive and cosmetic elements, such as the rhinoplasty, or nose job, procedure. Often performed to correct bumps or narrow the width of the nose, the nose job can also be used to fix a deviated septum to improve breathing or repair a broken nose.

Body-lift procedures such as the thigh-lift, brachioplasty arm-lift and the panniculectomy are procedures typically performed after significant weight loss. These procedures are a mix of both cosmetic and reconstructive approaches. Excess skin can cause patients to develop health issues like skin rashes and yeast infections (giving patients a medical or reconstructive reason for surgery) and can even make patients feel uncomfortable and have difficulty finding clothes that fit (giving patients a cosmetic or aesthetic approach to surgery).

Do you have questions about cosmetic or reconstructive procedures offered by Dr.  Peterson? Call 785-234-9000 for your consultation today.