Most people – and even surgeons – use cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery interchangeably. After all, they are both concerned with the improvement of a patient’s appearance.
But technically speaking, cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery in Miami have distinct differences in terms of their goals, outcomes, and the training that surgeons need to undergo in order to be certified as a plastic and/or cosmetic surgeon.
To learn the difference between these two types of surgeries, continue reading this article.
The word “plastic” was derived from the Greek word “plastikos,” which means, “to mold or shape.” Pretty much a simple description of what plastic surgery does to the human body.
According to the American Board of Plastic Surgery, plastic surgery can be defined as the “repair, reconstruction, or replacement of physical defects of form or function involving the skin, musculoskeletal system, craniomaxillofacial structures, hand, extremities, breast and trunk, external genitalia or cosmetic enhancement of these areas of the body.”
In other words, plastic surgery can be performed either to correct defects or enhance appearance. It is a catchall term under which both reconstructive and cosmetic surgery fall under.
The goal of plastic surgery Miami, first and foremost, is the reconstruction of facial and body defects caused by various factors like birth disorders, disease, trauma, and burns. It is reconstructive in nature, as every plastic surgeon is surgically trained to correct dysfunctional areas of the body.
However, those who want to help people enhance their appearance should complete additional training in order to perform cosmetic surgery.
One of the most popular plastic surgeries is breast reconstruction, which is often done for breast cancer patients who have already undergone a mastectomy to treat their condition. Breast reduction can also be considered as plastic surgery, especially for women who are having back problems because of the heavy weight of their breasts.
Another example is burn repair surgery, as it seeks to improve the function and appearance of burn scars. Scar revision surgeries also fall under plastic surgery.
Repair of congenital defects like cleft lip or palate is also considered to be under this category also, as this procedure can prevent problems related to the child’s speech development and emotional health.
A rhinoplasty or nose lift, though commonly done to improve the shape and size of the nose, can also be considered as plastic surgery if it is performed due to health problems like breathing difficulties and chronic sinusitis.
Since these surgeries help improve the overall function of certain body parts, they are often covered by insurance.
Those who wish to become plastic surgeons must complete a postgraduate residency program to qualify as one. Like all other surgeons, they need to undergo the usual three-year general surgery residency, plus two to three more years of specialized plastic surgery residency. This is where they are trained in doing reconstructive surgeries.
Some residency programs in plastic surgery already include some common cosmetic surgeries as part of the surgeon’s training. However, they are definitely not trained on every cosmetic procedure, unless they undergo further specialized training in cosmetic surgery.
The whole training process can take six to eight years, with many plastic surgeons opting to further their training in fellowships to include microvascular, hand, craniofacial, pediatric, and aesthetic surgeries.
Hence, someone labeled as a “board-certified plastic surgeon” means that they have the training and experience in doing reconstructive surgeries, but not necessarily in performing aesthetic surgeries.
According to the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, cosmetic surgery is defined as “entirely focused on enhancing a patient’s appearance. Improving aesthetic appeal, symmetry, and proportion are the key goals.”
Since plastic surgery deals with both defect correction and appearance enhancement, it can also be said that cosmetic surgery is a subspecialty of plastic surgery.
Simply put, the goal of cosmetic surgery is to enhance a patient’s appearance. It can be performed in all areas of the head, neck, and body.
Because the areas being treated in cosmetic surgery have no functional problems, these surgeries are often done on an elective basis and not covered by insurance.
Popular aesthetic surgeries that most people know about fall under cosmetic surgery, Miami is a great city to have your procedures performed.
Breast lift, breast reduction, and breast augmentation are all procedures that seek to enhance the appearance of the breasts. For men, gynecomastia surgery is also a considered as a cosmetic surgery, provided that it does not cause health problems to the patient.
When it comes to facial contouring, rhinoplasty, chin augmentation, and cheek enhancement are also considered cosmetic surgeries. The same can be said for facial rejuvenation procedures like facelift, eyelid lift, neck lift, and brow lift.
Other body contouring procedures that fall under this category include tummy tuck, liposuction, thigh lift, arm lift, and butt lift. Even skin rejuvenation treatments like Botox, laser resurfacing, and filler treatments can be called cosmetic procedures.
Plastic surgeons wanting to become cosmetic surgeons as well should obtain training and experience through a post-residency fellowship after completing their usual residency training.
But take note that plastic surgeons are not the only ones who can get this training. Any doctor belonging to any medical specialty – whether it be general surgery, dermatology, or gynecology – can be trained to perform cosmetic procedures. Since there is no residency program in the United States solely devoted to cosmetic surgery, training for these procedures largely varies. It can be as long as a one-year cosmetic surgery fellowship from a reputable institution, or as short and simple as sporadic short weekend courses on how to perform various cosmetic surgeries like Botox, breast augmentation, and liposuction.
Legally speaking, any licensed physician can perform cosmetic surgery, regardless of how they received their cosmetic surgery training. For all you know, he is board-certified in general medicine, but not in plastic and cosmetic surgery.
When looking for a plastic or cosmetic surgeon for specific procedures that you want to be done on your body, make sure that he has been duly certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery – the only certifying body recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties when it comes to plastic surgery certifications.
Another common certification that surgeons flaunt is the one from the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, which certifies that they have completed a one-year fellowship training exclusively in cosmetic surgery. But though the training is a rigorous one requiring them to complete a minimum of 300 individual cosmetic procedures, it is not officially recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties.
That is why it is always important to ask your surgeon about his certifications. Aside from that, do not be afraid to ask about his training and experience with respect to the specific cosmetic procedure that you are after. Ask for recommendations from friends and family members. Consider the online reviews of their clinics, but be wary of any red flags. Finally, ask for before and after photos of previous patients that they handled who have undergone the same procedure as yours. This way, you have a visual idea of what to expect after your surgery.
If you are looking for a reputable cosmetic surgery center in Miami, one great place to start is Face + Body Cosmetic Surgery. Both Dr. Nick Masri and Dr. Mark Broudo boast of double board certifications coming from The American Board of Surgery and The American Board of Plastic Surgery. They also have hospital privileges so that you have the option of doing your surgery in an accredited hospital rather than in a clinic.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Face + Body Cosmetic Surgery to discuss any of your plastic surgery concerns.