In the world of plastic surgery, many don’t realize that there are two different types of plastic surgery: cosmetic surgery and reconstructive surgery. So, we wanted to clear the air and explain the differences between cosmetic surgery and reconstructive surgery.
While they do hold some basic similarities, such as improving a person’s body, the two kinds of plastic surgery differ largely in the reasons behind the improvements. Read more to find out the key differences between cosmetic surgery and reconstructive surgery.
Cosmetic plastic surgery focuses completely on enhancing the patient’s appearance. So, all of the procedures, techniques, and principles of cosmetic surgery focus primarily on improving the patient’s aesthetic appeal by enhancing their body’s symmetry and proportion. Some examples of cosmetic surgery include breast augmentation surgery, tummy tuck surgery, and brazilian butt lift surgery.
Unlike reconstructive surgery, cosmetic surgery is entirely elective and is only performed to improve the patient’s appearance and self-esteem by reshaping certain parts of their otherwise healthy and normal body. Being a completely elective procedure, health insurances almost never cover cosmetic surgeries. However, cosmetic surgery has become extremely popular, as
over $10 billion was spent on cosmetic procedures last year in the United States.
Reconstructive surgery focuses mainly on improving the functionality or appearance of a patient’s body by addressing issues caused by things such as birth and congenital defects, infections, trauma, tumors, burns, diseases, etc. Some examples of reconstructive surgery include breast reduction surgery, breast reconstruction surgery, and a septoplasty (reconstructive nose job).
It’s important to note that, while similar in technique to cosmetic surgery, reconstructive surgeries are traditionally performed for a medical purpose. If Jenny gets a nose job because she doesn’t like how hers turns up at the front, that’s cosmetic surgery. If she breaks her nose and gets a septoplasty to enable her to breathe correctly again, that’s reconstructive surgery. One can be justified by her insurance company as coverable, while the other is strictly elective. Because of its purpose, most health insurance policies cover certain reconstructive procedures to some extent.
Links Between Cosmetic and Reconstructive Surgery
Despite their differences, cosmetic surgery and reconstructive surgery are deeply connected. To begin with, cosmetic surgery evolved as an extension of reconstructive surgeries, and nowadays the two types of plastic surgery are often performed together. These links leave a lot of gray area between whether a procedure is reconstructive or purely cosmetic.
It’s important to remember that while cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries have their similarities, the two hold distinctly separate characteristics. If you have any questions about a plastic surgery or any inquiries about a procedure that you're interested in, schedule a consultation with Dr. Z today. Dr. Z is a board-certified plastic surgeon that specializes in both cosmetic and reconstructive surgery, and he will assist each and every one of his patients along their plastic surgery journey.