Both the words are being used interchangeably, but plastic surgery, reconstructive surgery, and cosmetic surgery are not the same, despite having a close relationship between them.
So, what are the differences between the Plastic, Reconstructive and Cosmetic Surgeries?
The plastic term comes from the Greek word πλάσσω which mean to mold. Then it went to Latin where a suffix was added and it remained as plasticus, which means modeler.
Therefore, the Plastic Surgeon is the one with the ability to correct and properly shape badly formed or damaged parts of the body. Plastic Surgery is divided into two main branches, then we explain the differences between Cosmetic and Reconstructive Surgery.
An essential difference is that Cosmetic Surgery is usually elective, that is, the patient chooses to have surgery. In contrast, Reconstructive Surgery is usually necessary or highly recommended for the patient, which is why they are usually covered by Social Security or insurance companies if meeting certain requirements.
The fundamental difference lies in its purpose; both pursue the improvement of the physical aspect, but in the case of plastic surgery it is based on a previous defect that wants to be corrected, whether functional or appearance. In aesthetic surgery, we seek to change a part of our body that we do not like, even if it is not a defect in itself.
If we define both surgeries, we find that plastic surgery is one that allows an abnormality or deformation to be transformed, even if it is used to make some aesthetic correction. This is the case of people who have suffered some kind of accident, illness, congenital disorder, etc…
Although it can also be used for purely aesthetic purposes, the term encompasses much more than that and can be considered as the branch of medicine from which emanate others such as cosmetic surgery. They emphasize breast reconstruction, repair of limb defects or surgery to improve scars.
We can define aesthetic surgery as a variant of plastic surgery, very similar to that, except that with a basic function of improving the physical appearance and the image of the patient, according to their personal tastes.
Many consider it very beneficial for those with low levels of self-esteem. In this case, the intervention pursues purely aesthetic purposes, at the patient’s discretion. The most common cosmetic surgery treatments are breast, rhinoplasty, otoplasty, liposuction, or Botox.
Differentiate correctly both terms is essential when choosing the center and the most suitable professional; It is very important that the surgeon to whom we are going to trust our operation has the appropriate qualification.
Plastic surgeons are the only ones qualified to perform aesthetic surgery interventions, being the full name that we give to the specialty of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery.
To obtain the title of a plastic surgeon, five years of specialty are required after finishing the university career, of which three are specific to plastic surgery. This title of Specialist is the one that certifies that the professional has sufficient training.
Sometimes the differences between Cosmetic and Reconstructive Surgery blur. We can give a couple of examples: a rhinoplasty may be motivated by an aesthetic improvement, but it may also be necessary to improve the respiratory function of the patient; A woman may want to reduce her breasts to harmonize her figure, but it may also be necessary to end her back problems.