There is often confusion about what exactly cosmetic surgery is, as plastic surgery is sometimes used as a blanket term for all cosmetic procedures.
Cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery are not the same thing. Cosmetic surgery is a discipline in medicine that is focused on improving a patient's appearance through medical and surgical methods. Cosmetic procedures can be performed on a variety of areas from the head, neck, chest and even feet. As these procedures are done for cosmetic reasons, they are elective surgeries.
Plastic surgery on the other hand, is a medical profession that is dedicated to reconstructive work and fixing various birth defects right through to scars and burns.
Cosmetic surgery is performed by physicians from a variety of medical disciplines including, general surgery, dermatologists and plastic surgeons. This is one of the most important differences. Unlike those practicing cosmetic surgery, plastic surgeons are specialists in their area. According to a 2009 Choice investigation
, the difference between a plastic surgeon and a cosmetic surgeon can be up to eight years of specialist training.
The cosmetic surgery industry is largely unregulated, which has led some to ask, ‘How do I know if a cosmetic surgeon is reputable?
Considering the relative ease with which a doctor can set up a cosmetic practice, there are certain questions you should ask a prospective surgeon to make sure they are on the level. Start by checking if the doctor is accredited by the Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery.
Because of the lack of regulation, it is down to individual consumers to choose a cosmetic surgeon based on their own research. Those in the market for a cosmetic procedure should take note of the surgeon’s qualifications and years of experience, along with asking the surgeon how many surgical procedures they have performed roughly over the period.
Given the risks associated with surgery, it is advisable to see a plastic surgeon for any cosmetic procedures rather than going to a cosmetic surgeon.