Plastic Surgery vs Cosmetic Surgery: What’s the Difference?
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Plastic Surgery vs Cosmetic Surgery: What’s the Difference?

Is cosmetic surgery just the same as plastic surgery? We have encountered this question a lot and we understand where the confusion is coming from. For starters, there are a lot of surgeons who have specialized and offer both cosmetic surgery and Mississauga plastic surgery treatments in their clinical practice. Take Dr. Hugh McLean as an example.

Woman upper body and hands

Despite being closely related, cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery are different in a technical medical perspective. From a layman’s point of view, cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery may seem one and the same because both have beautiful end results. But if you dig deeper into the principles, procedures, and surgeon qualifications required for each, you will be enlightened as to their difference. As they say, the devil is in the details.

Let’s try to unpack this complex topic by highlighting the unique aspects that set the two apart from each other.

Let’s delve right in!

What Is Cosmetic Surgery?

Beauty is the heart of cosmetic surgery. Its main goal is to enhance the appearance of the treatment area and achieve a patient’s desired aesthetic goals. The most popular cosmetic surgery treatments are:

  • Breast enhancement procedures (breast augmentation and breast lift)
  • Facial enhancement procedures: (rhinoplasty, facelift, eyelid lift, brow lift)
  • Body contouring (tummy tuck, arm lift, liposuction)

Cosmetic surgery also includes nonsurgical procedures, such as:

  • Neurotoxin injection for fine lines and wrinkles treatment (Botox)
  • Dermal or soft tissue fillers
  • Laser resurfacing treatments

Unlike Mississauga plastic surgery, cosmetic surgery treatments are elective are paid for out of pocket because they are not covered by medical insurance providers.

What Is Plastic Surgery?

Plastic surgery, on the other hand, is primarily corrective and reconstructive in nature. Beyond aesthetic enhancement, plastic surgeons use advanced surgical expertise and techniques to repair and reconstruct the treatment area to its normal function and appearance that are caused by the following conditions:

  • Physical deformity from birth
  • Devastating trauma from an accident
  • Disfiguring effects of a debilitating disease, such as cancer

Types of Plastic Surgery

The different types of reconstructive Mississauga plastic surgery. Here are several examples:

  • Breast reconstruction
  • Breast reduction
  • Burn repair surgery
  • Lower extremity reconstruction
  • Hand surgery
  • Scar revision surgery
  • Reconstruction from birth defects (cleft lip/palate, birthmarks, and abnormal skull or facial bones)

In general, Mississauga plastic surgery is deemed to be medically necessary and are frequently covered by medical insurance.

Required Qualifications for Plastic Surgeons vs. Cosmetic Surgeons

Recognized institutions in plastic surgery both in Canada and the United States place serious emphasis on the difference between a plastic surgeon and a cosmetic surgeon in terms of the stringent medical training and certifications required.

For instance, plastic surgery training is obtained through a post-graduate residency program while cosmetic surgery can be taken through fellowship training after residency. During this separate post-residency fellowship, doctors in the U.S. are required to perform a minimum of 300 individual cosmetic surgery procedures before becoming board certified.

But here’s the catch: not all cosmetic surgeons are plastic surgeons. You can encounter general physicians, dentists, or dermatologists offering cosmetic surgery treatments as well. While they may be allowed to do so by law, this does not guarantee the best results.

In order to ensure that you will have your desired post-surgery expectations, whether it is for reconstructive or aesthetic purposes, you should be explicitly selective and do your due diligence in researching and inquiring about your surgeon’s qualifications.

When planning for a Mississauga plastic surgery or cosmetic surgery, the Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons recommends choosing physicians with the following qualifications:

  • Graduated with a medical degree
  • Successfully completed a minimum of 5 years of study and training in surgery
  • Passed a rigorous examination process overseen by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
  • Deemed qualified and certified to practice reconstructive and aesthetic (cosmetic) plastic surgery

It is also important that your surgeon is affiliated and recognized with reputable plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery institutions.

Mississauga Plastic Surgery Expert

At McLean Clinic, we are proud to be spearheaded by Dr. Hugh McLean who is a board-certified Mississauga plastic surgery specialist with over three decades of professional medical experience.

He received his medical degree from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto and completed specialized training in plastic surgery in Toronto and cosmetic surgery in Miami. Before starting his private practice in 1988, Dr. McLean has been on staff at the Trillium Health Centre since 1980 and is the former Chief of Plastic Surgery at the Mississauga Hospital.

He is also recognized by:

  • Canadian Society for Aesthetic (Cosmetic) Plastic Surgery
  • American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
  • Ontario Society of Plastic Surgeons
  • Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons
  • American Society of Plastic Surgeons
  • Canadian Laser Aesthetic Surgery Society Inc.

If you are interested to know more about our Mississauga plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery procedures, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We invite you to drop by our office so you can discuss your concerns privately with Dr. McLean and our professional team.

Book a consultation now!

January 23, 2020
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