Plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery are often used as interchangeable terms. However, there is a distinction to be made. “Plastic surgery” is a catch-all term that encompasses both functional and cosmetic procedures. All plastic surgeons are cosmetic surgeons, but not all cosmetic surgeons are plastic surgeons. To break it down further, let’s look at the differences between functional and cosmetic plastic surgery.
Functional plastic surgery aims to correct defects or deformities on a patient’s body, like a deviated septum or a severe burn. Your surgeon will help dysfunctional body parts work properly again and reconstruct areas that have been damaged.
Cosmetic surgical procedures improve aesthetics and physical appearance. Contouring and rejuvenation help the patient shape the proportion and symmetry of their body.
Type of Surgery
When you go in for functional plastic surgery, it’s because something isn’t working right. It’s considered a medically necessary procedure and is covered by most insurance.
Cosmetic surgery, meanwhile, is considered an elective procedure. The patient has a healthy and functional body and is going under the knife by choice. Most insurance companies will not cover cosmetic procedures.
As mentioned before, plastic surgery encompasses cosmetic surgery as well, but it doesn’t go both ways. Your plastic surgeon in Houston, TX, has undergone board certification and completed an additional residency program. They have the option to pursue a cosmetic surgery specialty as well, but it’s not required.
Cosmetic surgeons can also undergo board certification and focus primarily on cosmetic procedures, but any physician can practice cosmetic surgery. A cosmetic surgeon may not specialize in burn repairs or cleft palate correction, but a plastic surgeon can readily perform a breast augmentation.
Functional plastic surgery generally includes the following:
- Breast reconstruction following a mastectomy
- Cleft lip or cleft palate correction
- Burn trauma repair
- Correction of deformities like extra appendages
Cosmetic surgery, meanwhile, includes procedures like:
- Breast augmentation
- Cosmetic rhinoplasty
- Facial contouring
If you’re unsure whether your desired procedure is functional or cosmetic in nature, call Allergy & ENT Associates and talk to one of our specialists. Our surgeons will break down the differences between functional and cosmetic plastic surgery and offer expert advice tailored to your situation.