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What’s the Difference Between Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery?

Plastic and cosmetic surgeries may seem similar on the surface. After all, they’re both intended to alter the patient’s body in various ways. Some people even use the terms interchangeably—however, they are anything but the same. When making plastic surgery vs. cosmetic surgery comparisons, you’ll find that the two fields have less in common than you initially believe. So what’s the difference between cosmetic and plastic surgery? Here’s what you need to know about both of these surgeries and how they differ from one another.

What Is Plastic Surgery?

Plastic surgery is a reconstructive procedure intended to restore either appearance or function to the patient’s body. Traumatic accidents that cause serious body abnormalities, such as injuries or diseases, can be corrected through reconstructive surgery. Additionally, plastic surgery can also address a patient’s birth defects. Plastic surgeons offer the following procedures and more:


  • Cleft Palate Repair
  • Scar Revisions
  • Burn Repair
  • Limb Reconstruction
  • Mastectomy

What Is Cosmetic Surgery?

The primary purpose of cosmetic surgery is to enhance an individual’s appearance by surgically altering the proportions of their body, altering certain features, and other methods. In essence, improving aesthetic appeal is the main goal of cosmetic surgery. Aesthetic surgery can be performed anywhere on the body and include the procedures shown below:


  • Breast Augmentation
  • Facelift
  • Tummy Tucks
  • Filler Treatments
  • Abdominoplasty
  • Lip Augmentation

Plastic Surgery vs. Cosmetic Surgery Purposes

The main difference between cosmetic and plastic surgery is their purpose. Plastic surgery is intended to improve the patient’s well-being and is done as an emergency procedure in many cases. On the other hand, cosmetic procedures are purely for aesthetic reasons and not anything life-threatening. Because they are not performed to correct anything dysfunctional, cosmetic surgery is considered non-essential.

Plastic Surgery vs. Cosmetic Surgery Coverage

Another notable contrast in the plastic surgery vs. cosmetic surgery comparison is whether or not they receive healthcare coverage. Cosmetic procedures are not primarily used for health purposes and, as a result, are not often covered by health insurance plans. However, this isn’t the case for plastic surgery. Plastic surgery isn’t elective and is life-saving in some cases, and is typically covered by insurance plans because it is deemed necessary.

Plastic Surgery vs. Cosmetic Surgery Training

While some plastic surgeons offer cosmetic procedures, each field requires a different set of skills and, in turn, different training. Training in plastic surgery is usually received during a surgeon’s medical residency, where they must complete either an integrated residency training or an independent five-year program. Compared to the qualifications for cosmetic surgery, plastic surgery is more intensive and can take longer. Meanwhile, there are no residency programs for cosmetic surgery. Instead, the training usually occurs through extensive hands-on experiences with a cosmetic surgeon, which are documented.

Plastic Surgery vs. Cosmetic Surgery? We Offer Both.

If you’re looking for a place to undergo plastic or cosmetic surgery, you can always count on Art Plastic Surgery. We offer a variety of procedures, including breast fat transfers in NJ and much more. To learn more about our Rhinoplasty costs in NJ, and other details regarding our services, give us a call today.