Reconstructive surgery vs. Cosmetic surgery
Plastic surgery is typically associated with cosmetic surgery. However, the field of plastic surgery includes procedures that are both cosmetic and reconstructive in nature, with significant overlap. Cosmetic procedures are generally performed to restore or enhance physical characteristics and reconstructive procedures have a primary goal to restore form and function with the cosmetic result being a concurrent goal.
Regardless of the type of procedure you are having, there is a certain level of anxiety that is commonly associated with undergoing surgery and even going for a consultation. Common concerns include being uncertain of what treatment is needed, risks related to procedures and who will be performing your procedure. To begin, our article provides a very simple definition of reconstructive and cosmetic surgery.
Let us break down the difference between reconstructive and cosmetic surgery for you.
There is evidence of reconstructive procedures being performed as far back as ancient Egyptian times. Ancient texts have documented nasal reconstructions as well as reconstruction after other traumatic injuries. Major evolution within the field occurred during World War I and WWII where reconstructive procedures became sophisticated to treat severe battle injuries. Today, the field of reconstructive surgery covers procedures from head to toe. Microsurgical procedures and advances in medicine have evolved to the point where plastic surgeons are pioneers in facial and limb transplantation. Reconstructive procedures are generally covered by insurance.
Here are some common reconstructive procedures
- Tumor removal and reconstruction
- Post-trauma reconstruction
- Breast Reconstruction and Breast Reduction
- Cleft Lip and Palate Repair
- Hand Surgery
- Migraine Surgery
- Body Contouring
- Scar Revision
When seeking a consultation for reconstructive procedures, make sure to choose a surgeon who is Board Certified in Plastic Surgery. In order to become certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, a surgeon must first complete an approved residency in plastic surgery, then pass a rigorous testing process with ongoing requirements from the Board for maintenance of certification. This can help you distinguish surgeons who have met rigorous standards in their training.
The goals of reconstruction are to restore form and function and do so with the goal of having the most aesthetic outcome possible. Patients may not realize they have a condition that meets the requirements for being considered for a reconstructive procedure. Your plastic surgeon will be able to discuss your concerns to help determine if your needs may qualify as reconstructive. Examples of this may be a patient with difficulty breathing from a crooked nose or septum. While the final visible outcome is cosmetic, after surgery, breathing improves from clearing nasal obstruction. Similarly, with breast reduction procedures, the visible result is the creation of an aesthetic breast shape, however, the patient can be cured of debilitating back and neck pain.
Keep reading to learn about cosmetic procedures.
Cosmetic surgery as a part of plastic surgery has a goal of rejuvenation, restoration, and improvement. We are all made different and the goal is to have results that suit you instead of a cookie-cutter approach. Unlike reconstructive surgery, cosmetic surgery is rarely is covered by insurance simply because it’s not a necessity. Many doctors may offer cosmetic procedures including internists, gynecologists, and surgeons who are not plastic surgeons. These doctors may refer to themselves as plastic surgeons or cosmetic surgeons.
Plastic surgery training programs accept trainees who are generally the top performers with academic and professional success. The training is rigorous and involves understanding the ins and outs of procedures, anatomy and medical sciences. This training allows plastic surgeons to think outside of the box and take on new challenges applying principles that have strong foundations.
While cosmetic surgeons may be great doctors and have good results, it is important to distinguish the level of training each has received. The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery is not recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties however the American Board of Plastic Surgery is.
Here are some common cosmetic procedures
- Hair restoration procedures
- Facial rejuvenation including facelifts, blepharoplasty, chin surgery, and lipofilling
- Filler injections
- Laser Resurfacing,
- Neck Lift
- Breast procedures
- Tummy Tuck or abdominoplasty
- Thigh reductions or thigh lifts
Now that you have a better idea of what cosmetic and reconstructive surgery is about, the next step is to have a consultation with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who can go into further detail to clarify any questions you might have.
Dr. Syed Sayeed is a Board Certified Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon that has been part of the medical community on Long Island for over ten years. He completed his training in plastic and reconstructive surgery at one of the premier plastic surgery practices in New York. Cosmetic consultations are complimentary. Contact us at 516-600-0117 or visit our website www.precisionsurgeryny.com for more information