Difference Between Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery

Cosmetic SurgeryWhile so many specialties exist in the medical field, it can be difficult differentiating between two specialties that are very similar, and often even confused for one another — cosmetic and plastic surgery.

Understanding the difference between cosmetic and plastic surgery may seem complex, but there are just a few elements of each that make them both unique. Today, we will go over what those differences are, and what the best choice is for patients that may consider one or the other.

Both cosmetic and plastic surgery aims to improve someone’s appearance, but they are both executed in different ways. The way that a plan is made, processed, and executed will differ.

Cosmetic surgery

Cosmetic surgery comprises procedures that are done solely to enhance the appearance of a person. Cosmetic surgery is executed through aesthetic appeal and scale. Cosmetic surgeons tend to aim for symmetry and proportion through their procedures. Patients that are seeking cosmetic surgery tend to have an end goal of making themselves look more appealing.

Some examples of cosmetic procedures would include breast enhancement, facial contouring or rejuvenation, and things like tummy tucks or botox treatments. Most may associate cosmetic surgery with celebrities because the price can be on the higher side.

Cosmetic surgery can be done to any part of the head, neck, or body. The goal is for the patient to remain to look normal or restore and enhance their look. An easy way to put it is that cosmetic surgery is entirely elective.

Plastic surgery

While plastic surgery is also a specialty that requires altering the patient’s body, it’s main goal is not the same as with cosmetic surgery. Plastic surgeons are working with patients to reconstruct the body from previous defects, birth disorders or abnormalities. Plastic surgery is typically medically recommended and a way to reconstruct the body back to the way that it should be.

Plastic surgery procedures include burn repairs, natural breast reductions, congenital defects (cleft pallets), scar revisions, and other procedures that may have been caused by trauma, genetically or before birth.

In other words, plastic surgery is typically done in order to repair dysfunctional areas of the body. Patients will tend to have plastic surgery done because they may have to. Plastic surgery is required for some people in order to function naturally or normally.


Cosmetic and plastic surgery can both alter the body drastically, but the reasoning behind each differs significantly. Knowing whether or not to visit a cosmetic or plastic surgeon is crucial because one can aid in enhancing the aesthetic appeal, while the other aids in fixing problems that a patient may not have had control over.

If you still have questions about cosmetic and plastic surgery, then call us today. Our trained professionals can help guide you through the differences, and which one is best for you to visit.

Request an appointment here: https://www.yalekadeskymd.com or call Yale M. Kadesky, M.D. at (760) 741-5466 for an appointment in our Escondido office.

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