Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the difference between plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery?

FAQ: plastic or cosmetic? Woman standing back.

A: Plastic surgery is a specialized branch of surgery that is concerned with correcting deformities that are congenital (in-born) or acquired from accidents or aging, in order to restore or enhance form and/or function.

The origins of plastic surgery are rooted in ancient history. Until the end of the nineteenth century, plastic surgery was essentially reconstructive. With the perfection of techniques, the correction of minor defects that are congenital in nature or due to aging came to be practiced, evolving into what is now popularly known as cosmetic or aesthetic plastic surgery.

Although plastic surgery can be categorized into either reconstructive or aesthetic surgery, there is no clear distinction between the two, since there is an aesthetic aspect in reconstructive surgery, and often a reconstructive aspect in aesthetic surgery. Sir Harold Gillies defined reconstructive surgery as an attempt to restore the individual to normal, while aesthetic surgery is an attempt to surpass the normal.

No surgeon can call himself a plastic surgeon unless he can do BOTH aesthetic and reconstructive surgery.

A paramount quality required for plastic surgery is a sense of form, an aesthetic judgement, and an ability to visualize the end result. These qualities are the most essential requisites for a plastic surgeon; these qualities distinguish the artist from the mere technician.

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