It is not uncommon for people to interchange the term cosmetic surgeon and plastic surgeon when they are considering a surgery that will enhance their looks. However, it is important that you understand the difference because it could greatly affect your life.
What is Cosmetic Surgery
Plastic surgery gets its name from the Greek word ‘plastikos’, which means ‘to give form or shape’. While the word by plastic may seem to signify something artificial, this is not so. Plastic surgery is a specialist surgical process that aims to improve a person’s appearance. It can help correct body defects caused by trauma or illness. It also helps correct birth defects. Cosmetic surgery is a type of plastic surgery.
Plastic surgery includes two basic types of surgery, reconstructive and cosmetic. Reconstructive surgery is done to shape abnormal features caused by disease, trauma or a birth defect. Cosmetic surgery is a process that is used to reshape otherwise normal features to give them a more aesthetic appeal.
A simple way to understand the difference between cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery, is to consider the underlying purpose for the surgical process. A patient may require breast reconstruction after a mastectomy. This is an example for reconstructive surgery. On the other hand, a breast enhancement or a breast lift may be done to reshape the body part, and this is cosmetic surgery.
All plastic and cosmetic surgeons must be board certified. If you or a loved one is considering cosmetic surgery, it is important to first verify if the surgeon is board certified. Do not hesitate to ask details about the board that the surgeon is certified by. Every board has its own certification requirements and standards. Do keep in mind that all surgeries carry a certain amount of risk. And this makes it imperative for you to choose a cosmetic surgeon who is properly certified.
In the United States, plastic surgeons must be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. They could also receive certification from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Board certified surgeons must complete at least six to years of training at an accredited program that specializes in plastic surgery. The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery offers exclusive certification in cosmetic surgery.
Unfortunately, according to the law, any doctor who holds a valid medical license could do a cosmetic surgery even though he or she has not received specialized training for the same. This means that they do not have the adequate skills required of a cosmetic surgeon and may not be able to offer the patient all the options a proper board certified cosmetic surgeon would be.
Like the risks that any surgery carries, it also usually comes with a large price tag. And this is why it is important to first check if your insurance will cover the cost of the surgery. While reconstructive plastic surgery may be covered by insurance, cosmetic surgery is usually not.
When you are considering a cosmetic surgical process and a cosmetic surgeon, do take the time to do your research. Check online as well as offline to gain a clear understanding of the surgeon’s background and certification. Also, focus on the type of medical facilities that are available at the clinic or hospital.
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