Select Page
Are Cosmetic Surgery and Plastic Surgery the same?

Health Focus is a weekly article in the Lake County News Herald featuring a Q & A with Dr. Vanek.

Q: Are Cosmetic Surgery and Plastic Surgery the same?

Cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery are closely related, but different. Perhaps these terms are used interchangeably because some plastic surgeons focus their practice on cosmetic surgery. Both are intended to improve a patient’s body, but the philosophies guiding the education, research, and goals for patient outcomes are different.

Plastic surgery defined

Plastic surgery is defined as a surgical specialty dedicated to reconstruction of facial and body defects due to birth disorders, trauma, burns, and disease, and is reconstructive in nature. Examples include breast reconstruction, congenital defect repairs, lower extremity reconstruction, hand surgery, burn repairs, and scar revisions.

Cosmetic surgery defined

Cosmetic surgery is focused on enhancing a patient’s appearance, and are elective. They can be performed on all areas of the head, neck, and body, and most common procedures include breast enhancement, facial contouring and rejuvenation, body contouring, and skin rejuvenation.

While many plastic surgeons choose to complete additional training and also perform cosmetic surgery, the basis of surgical training is reconstructive plastic surgery. The training and certification process for board certified plastic surgeons and cosmetic surgeons is very different.

What does it mean to be a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon?

Physicians who become board certified in plastic surgery must complete a general surgery residency plus another 2 years in plastic surgery. Residency programs in plastic surgery may include cosmetic surgery as a portion of their training. Any licensed physician can legally perform cosmetic surgery, so it is important to do your research when choosing your surgeon. Some doctors are not board certified at all. I continue to be one of the few in our area who is double-board certified, in general and plastic surgery.

Contact us to set up your own consultation or answer any question you may have.

Dr. Paul Vanek MD, FACS
Vanek Plastic Surgery
9485 Mentor Ave #100
Mentor, OH 44060