= People often mix up the terms plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery, but the two are very different. Cosmetic surgery is a discipline in medical science that deals with improving the appearance of an individual through medical and surgical methods. Cosmetic surgery can be performed anywhere on the body. The parts that are enhanced by cosmetic surgery are done so for aesthetic reasons and not for functional reasons. Plastic surgery, on the other hand, is a surgical speciality that deals with the reconstruction of the body.

Plastic surgery essentially deals with patients who have had some sort of trauma, growth defect, burns or diseases. Plastic surgery deals with the improvement of functionality of the part that is worked on and not just the aesthetic appeal.

Cosmetic surgeons don’t have the option of pursuing a fellowship or residency program in cosmetic surgery. Once they are done with medical school, they then have to join a general or surgical fellowship; post which they can specialise in cosmetic surgery through fellowships or workshops/seminars. Once they are done with their training, they can then apply for certification from the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. Plastic surgeons, on the other hand, can join a plastic surgery fellowship as soon as they are done with medical school. Plastic surgeons also have the added advantage of pursuing cosmetic surgery to improve their portfolio by attending fellowship programs or workshops/seminars. Once they have finished with their plastic surgery fellowship, they can acquire certification from the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Hence it can be seen that surgery route makes a lot more sense since those who have decided to be cosmetic surgeons can build up their experience in the field of plastic surgery first and then branch out to cosmetic surgery.

At the end of the day though plastic surgery is still looked at as a surgical procedure that enhances the living capability of an individual while cosmetic surgery deals with only the aesthetic improvement of the individual through surgical methods. It is essential for common people to understand the difference because both although have overlapping features are quite distinct from one another. A plastic surgeon can have the added benefit of being a cosmetic surgeon while the same cannot be said about a cosmetic surgeon. Cosmetic surgery is still looked at as a field that doesn’t require as much scrutiny or weightage as other surgical practices, and to an extent plays second fiddle to Plastic Surgery.