What’s the difference between plastic and cosmetic surgery?

Although facial and body enhancement surgery has massively grown in popularity in recent years, many people do not understand the difference between plastic and cosmetic surgery. In the UK, surgeons that have gained the necessary qualifications and experience are called ‘Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons’, yet there are many practitioners who may not have these qualifications who call themselves ‘aesthetic surgeons’ or ‘cosmetic practitioners’.

So, what is a plastic surgeon?

A plastic surgeon has two main roles; reconstructive surgery which is utilised after a trauma, accident, illness or disease that has affected the patient’s outward appearance and function of the body and aesthetic surgery which alters the patient’s external aspect from choice. This is usually because it causes distress or embarrassment or to improve the patient’s feeling of self-esteem.

Most plastic surgeons in the UK work in the NHS providing reconstructive surgery, with aesthetic surgery being the focus of their private practice, as the NHS is able to offer less elective – i.e. from choice – aesthetic surgery.

A plastic surgeon such as Mr Sudip Ghosh is able to offer to his private patients in the Buckinghamshire area the full range of reconstructive and aesthetic plastic surgery procedures. As well as such popular surgical options as tummy tucks or breast augmentations, his Milton Keynes patients are able to avail themselves of his burns reconstruction and hand surgery specialty.

Achieving different goals

Plastic surgery, particularly when applied for reconstructive purposes, is often a response to a life-changing event and it’s aim is to improve the quality of life of the patient. Cosmetic surgery, on the other hand, is aimed at enhancing the appearance of the patient and purely has aesthetic aims. It is elective in terms of not being necessary in preserving the life of the patient, although well-judged, well-chosen cosmetic surgery can massively improve the quality of life.