Plastic surgery is defined as surgical expertise focused on the reconstruction of face and body defects due to birth disorders, trauma, scars, burns, and disease. However, enhancing aesthetic attraction, harmony, proportion, and symmetry are the goals of cosmetic surgery. Many plastic surgeons prefer to complete necessary training and perform cosmetic surgery as well.
Briefly, the key objective of plastic surgery is to restore the function of organs, tissues, and skin. Enhancing the look of body parts is the secondary goal of a plastic surgeon.
Treating the patient as a whole is common approach of plastic surgeons. While they are dealing with disfigurements or dysfunctions result of trauma or any other treatment, or performing cosmetic surgery procedures to enhance the body and face, plastic surgeons consider both the physical and emotional situation of the patient.
Since we’ve focused on types of plastic surgery primarily, we couldn't give much space to the phenomenon itself. Hence, in this article, we aimed to talk about the facts in the matter of plastic surgery and, more specifically, cosmetic surgery (and the difference between them).
1- Are Plastic Surgery and Cosmetic Surgery the Same?
Plastic and cosmetic surgery are closely related specialties, but they are not the same.
Plastic surgery is a quite broad term, covering at least three main branches of surgical procedures. These are:
• Plastic surgery to deal with disorders, and congenital disabilities
• Reconstructive plastic surgery
• Plastic surgery to enhance one’s appearance (cosmetic surgery)
While the terms ‘plastic surgery’ and ‘cosmetic surgery’ are used interchangeably by many sites (including ours), technically speaking, cosmetic surgery constitutes only one of the branches of plastic surgery. This branch is improving one’s look for aesthetic reasons – it can be an improvement of breast size or the improvement of one’s body impaired due to congenital disabilities, disorders, diseases, and accidents. To summarize, plastic surgery is aimed to correct dysfunctional areas of the body. Cosmetic surgery, on the other hand, is fully focused on improving patients' appearance.
The scope of plastic surgery is very wide from small surgical intervention to extreme disfigurement cases. It includes congenital anomalies of the head and neck, microvascular surgery, burn scar reconstruction, breast reconstruction and all cosmetic surgeries on the face (on nose, eyes, eyelids, chin, lips, ears, etc.) or on other body parts.
Most popular cosmetic-plastic surgeries may be listed as follows:
• Breast Surgeries (Breast Implants, Breast Augmentation (Boob Job), Breast Uplift, Breast Enlargement (to provide big breast), Breast Reduction (to provide smaller breast)
• Liposuction (Slim Lipo, Laser Lipo, Smart Lipo, etc.)
• Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty)
• Rhinoplasty (Nose Job)
• Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)
• Facelift (Thread facelift, liquid facelift, laser facelifts, etc.)
• Hair Transplant (Mostly for men)
• Lip Augmentation (Lip enhancement)
2- Is Plastic Surgery Safe?
Plastic surgery procedures become increasingly safe due to the appearance of improvements new approaches to old methods.
As an example, a few decades ago, silicone implants were more prone to tear and cause possible complications. However, in modern breast enhancement surgery, more durable silicone implants are used, including so-called gummy bear implants which have a more consistent structure with less risk even if their cover will tear.
Additionally, breast augmentation surgeries today may be performed with saline implants which have an even smaller impact on our bodies once a tear appears.
In many fields of cosmetic surgery, researchers consistently develop new techniques and procedures which increase patients’ safety.
Still, it is not possible to say that plastic surgery procedures are 100% safe. As with any surgery, plastic surgery has its own risks. Risks encountered mostly depend on the size of the operated area, the surgeon's level of experience, and the patient's overall health.
Some procedures involve their specific risks, but general risks of plastic surgeries include:
• Pain and discomfort
3- Will My Insurance Cover the Plastic Surgery Procedure?
It is hard to say for sure, but most of the public and private insurance programs do support plastic surgery procedures only if these are a necessity as a result of a disease or an accident. In the case of cosmetic surgery chosen for purely aesthetic reasons, it is really hard to find an insurance program which would refund it.
4- How Do I Know If Plastic Surgery Is Right for Me?
Plastic surgery procedures are most of the time a matter of one’s perception and aesthetic values. Cosmetic surgery may be an excellent way to increase the patient’s self-confidence, but it doesn’t have to – some cosmetic surgery patients regret their choices, especially in more extremal cases. It is always a good idea to talk to your plastic surgeon, who is able to present the best options at hand due to their years of experience. Sometimes changing the type of surgery may be a good solution. For example, in order to achieve breast augmentation, you can choose breast implants but also a breast lift.
5- Plastic Surgery Abroad- Tips
Patients looking for affordable, high-quality procedures are the most important element of the growing trend of medical tourism. The reason is simple – especially the USA and Western Europe are known to have good plastic surgeons but quite high pricing of almost all types of cosmetic surgery.
For this reason, thousands of patients travel every year to major health tourism destinations such as Turkey, Poland, Spain, India, and others – in this way they can get the care of qualified plastic surgeons for a much more affordable price. However, it is hard to distinguish between only those who are marketing-oriented and who are really good at their job among the tens of surgeons and the clinicians.
Here you may find some important points that you need to consider during your decision and selection process:
• Titles and experience of plastic surgeons,
• The reviews, before and after photos of previous operations and history of the clinics,
• Availability of reliable translators in the chosen plastic surgery clinic,
• The total plastic surgery costs together with hospital stay and other fees which are often not given at the beginning.
This content is edited by Flymedi Medical Editors in February 2019.