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Once and For All: What’s the Difference Between Plastic Surgery and Cosmetic Procedures

Many people aren’t aware of the difference between plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. So, if you don’t know the difference, you’re certainly not alone. In truth, the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, because the specialties are related. Read further to find out about a few of the things that separate the two.

Different Goals

According to, plastic surgery is a surgical specialty dedicated to the reconstruction of facial and body defects. Plastic surgeons correct dysfunctions that are caused by burns, trauma, birth defects, or diseases.

Cosmetic surgery, on the other hand, is focused on enhancing a patient’s appearance rather than to restore normal appearance and function. Cosmetic procedures, such as facial contouring, breast enhancement, or skin rejuvenation treatments, are practiced by doctors from various fields, including plastic surgeons.

These procedures are performed at the patient’s request, since the area that is to be treated still functions properly.

Separate Training

In order to become a board certified plastic surgeon, a physician has to complete a general surgery residency, as well as a two year residency program in plastic surgery. While these programs may include cosmetic procedures as a part of a surgeon’s education, they usually do not include comprehensive training on every aspect of cosmetic surgery.

Currently, there are no residency programs in the United States dedicated solely to cosmetic surgery. This means that cosmetic surgeons receive their training after they have completed their residency. This is typically done through a post-residency fellowship.

Fellowship training programs provide surgeons with thorough training in all cosmetic procedures of the face and body, as well as training on non-surgical procedures.

Take Precautions

It should be noted that any surgeon can legally perform plastic surgery regardless of how they receive training.  For this reason alone, it’s extremely important you do research before making a final decision on the physician you choose to perform your procedure.

Opting for a doctor who isn’t fully qualified means that you’re taking a huge risk. It’s typically very difficult to reverse botched cosmetic surgery. The last thing you want is to be disfigured for the remainder of your lifetime. As the old adage goes, “it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

What’s the Next Step?

Now that you understand the difference between plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures, this is the perfect time to contact The Royal Centre of Plastic Surgery in Barrie, 40 minutes north of Toronto.

At Royal Centre for Plastic Surgery, our board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Kenneth Dickie, can answer any questions you might have about any procedure.

The healthcare team is eager to answer your questions in regard to the many types of surgeries available. Call today to request a consultation.