Patients interested in altering their physical appearance always ask the question “what’s the difference between cosmetic and plastic surgery?” It’s an honest one. The two can be quite confusing, especially when you’re just starting to entertain the idea. To make things easy on you, we’ll use this post to define, discuss, and differentiate the two. By listing common examples of each, we’ll give you an idea of which type of surgery you’re interested in and enable you to make a proper decision in regards to what’s best for you.

Cosmetic Surgery

Cosmetic or aesthetic surgery can be defined as surgery that’s done solely to improve physical appearance. It’s performed on all parts of the body, the most common of which are the face and neck. The primary goal is to improve beauty, complexion, and appearance. Improving anatomical symmetry and proportion are key. The two main factors that differentiate it and plastic surgery are that it’s always elective and it can be performed by physicians from a variety of fields, including plastic surgeons. Physicians of all types must have special training to be able to perform cosmetic surgery. The most common types are:

  • Breast Enhancement- augmentations, lifts, reductions
  • Facial Contouring- nose, chin, and cheek enhancement
  • Facial Rejuvenation- face, neck, eyelid, and brow lifts
  • Body Contouring- liposuction type procedure
  • Skin Rejuvenation- dermal fillers, Botox, and laser treatments

Plastic Surgery

Plastic surgery is done to reconstruct defected areas of the body. Birth disorders, trauma, burns, and disease can all cause defects. The goal of plastic surgery is to correct these defects. It can be elective or non-elective. It’s always performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon. It can’t be done by family practice physicians or dermatologists. The most common types are:

  • Breast Reconstruction
  • Burn Repair
  • Birth Defect Repair
  • Scar Revision

Board-certified plastic surgeons are specialists that have been trained in general and plastic surgery. They’ve undergone extensive education and training. In todays medical world, most perform many different types of cosmetic surgery. Because their surgical training is more extensive, it’s generally recommended that you seek cosmetic surgery from them rather than other types of physicians.

Your Decision

The reasons to have cosmetic or plastic surgery can be numerous, varied, and overlap. Generally speaking, if you wish to improve some part of your body solely for looks then you should head down the cosmetic surgery road. If you have some sort of defect or trauma, you should head down the plastic surgery road. It should be noted that an increase in self esteem can be seen as a secondary result of both. Patients who have a part of their body altered for the better usually feel more attractive, confident, and happy. Make note that both types are indeed surgery. Side effects can occur and pain will always be present to some extent. If you’re interested, it’s advised that you take the right first step by arranging a consultation. Remember, a board-certified plastic surgeon is usually the most qualified to perform surgery on you should you be a candidate.

Meet Our Doctors

Dr. Jeffrey Spiegel

Dr. Jeffrey Spiegel

With special expertise in all aspects of facial plastic surgery, and a particular skill for revision surgery, it’s clear why Dr. Spiegel is one of the most celebrated facial plastic surgeons in the world. If you are seeking the best possible results, or have a uniquely challenging problem, you’ve found the right doctor.

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Dr. Onir L. Spiegel

Dr. Onir L. Spiegel

Dr. Onir (pronounced “oh-near”) has years of experience in facial aesthetics and treats some of the most recognizable and famous faces. Dr. Onir started her career in oral health, earning doctorate degrees from both New York University and Boston University. She has been the recipient of numerous awards for her cutting-edge medical research as well as her technical skills in dentistry.

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Dr. Jacob Tower

Dr. Jacob Tower

A board-certified specialist in facial plastic surgery, Dr. Jacob Tower brings a thoughtful approach and an artistic eye to New England’s premier plastic surgery practice, The Spiegel Center in Newton, Massachusetts. In addition to being an in-demand surgeon, Dr. Tower is an assistant professor at the Boston University School of Medicine, a sought-after lecturer, and an expert in facial plastic surgery.

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