The real differences between Cosmetic Surgery and Plastic Surgery
If you thought that cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery were the same thing, you are not alone. Many plastic surgeons focus their practice on cosmetic surgery, which has led to the terms being used interchangeably. However, this is not technically correct as while cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery are closely related specialties, they are not the same. Here we will take a look at the main differences between Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery to help clear up the confusion between these two specialties.
Cosmetic Surgery and Plastic Surgery have different goals
Both cosmetic and plastic surgery have the ultimate goal of improving the patient’s body, however, the overarching philosophies that guide training, research and goals for patient outcomes are different.
Cosmetic Surgery: Focus on Enhancing Appearance
The techniques, procedures and driving principles of cosmetic surgery are focused on enhancing the appearance of patients in a specified way. The key goals of cosmetic surgery are improving aesthetic appeal, symmetry and proportion. The areas on which cosmetic surgery is performed is the neck, head and the body. Since the areas being treated are functioning properly, cosmetic surgery is entirely elective. Additionally, cosmetic surgery is practiced by doctors from a variety of medical fields which includes but is limited to plastic surgeons.
The central scope of cosmetic surgery procedures includes:
- Skin Rejuvenation: Laser Resurfacing, filler treatments, Botox
- Facial Rejuvenation: Facelift, Neck lift, Brow lift, Eyelid lift
- Facial Contouring: Rhinoplasty, Chin Enhancement, Cheek Enhancement
- Body Contouring: Liposuction, Tummy Tuck, Gynecomastia Treatment
- Breast Enhancement: Augmentation, Reduction, Lift
All of these procedures fall within the scope of cosmetic surgery, however, there are also a number of other cosmetic surgery procedures that are less frequently performed or known. The overall key focus of cosmetic surgery is to enhance the appearance of the patient.
Plastic Surgery: Focus on Repairing Defects to Reconstruct a Normal Function & Appearance
Plastic Surgery is a medical specialty that is focused on the correction or restoration of form and function. It is dedicated to reconstruction of facial and body defects that have been caused by birth disorders, burns, trauma and disease. The main goal of plastic surgery is to correct dysfunctional areas of the body, which is why it is considered to be reconstructive in nature. While many plastic surgeons choose to complete additional training and perform cosmetic surgery as well, the basis of their surgical training remains as reconstructive plastic surgery.
Common plastic surgery procedures include
- Burn Repair Surgery
- Hand Surgery
- Scar Revision Surgery
- Lower Extremity Reconstruction
- Breast Reconstruction
- Congenital Defect Repair: Cleft Palate, Extremity Defect Repair
There a number of other plastic surgery treatments that are available, however, these are the most common treatments that people undergo. As aforementioned, plastic surgeons often are equipped to perform cosmetic surgery treatments and it is not uncommon to find a qualified plastic surgeon performing cosmetic surgery treatments.
Cosmetic Surgeons and Plastic Surgeons have different training requirements
Due to cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery having different overarching philosophies and distinct practice goals that are built around a specific set of procedures, it makes sense that the training and certification process for cosmetic surgeons is different to that of a plastic surgeon.
Cosmetic Surgery training requirements
To become a cosmetic surgeon in Sydney, Australia, you need to fulfill two requirements. Firstly a basic medical degree is required. A medical degree involves attending an accredited university program, which typically lasts 4 or more years, depending on previous related degrees and the university being attended. Additionally, all medical graduates must undergo at least one year of supervised practices in the form of an internship. This involves training across of diverse range of medical disciplines.
The second requirement for being a cosmetic surgeon is being a part of a cosmetic medical association such as the ASCM (Australasian Society of Cosmetic Medicine) in order to ensure that the practitioner undergoes ongoing training in their chosen procedure.
Plastic Surgery training requirements
To become a plastic surgeon in Sydney, Australia, there are additional requirements that must be fulfilled compared to that of a cosmetic surgeon. Firstly, as aforementioned, a basic medical degree is required. After the completion of this medical degree, a doctor must then be trained through the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) to qualify as a plastic surgeon. This involves a minimum of eight years in post graduate surgical training. Two to five of these years are spent in proper surgical training and then a further four years is spent undergoing specialty Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery training. This ensures that the level of plastic surgery within Australia is world class. After the completion of this training, the doctor is then given the qualification of Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS). Only qualified plastic surgeons that have trained through RACS can become a member of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).
Dr. Wayne Young
Dr Wayne Young is one of the best cosmetic surgeons in Sydney, using his extensive training in both plastic and cosmetic surgery to achieve fantastic results. He listens to his patients and develops a wonderful rapport, discovering the changes the want and showing how much he really cares, allowing him to fulfil his goal to “not only make beautiful people, but to make people’s lives beautiful”. This is what sets Dr Young apart from his contemporaries and has allowed him to become one of the best cosmetic surgeons in Sydney.