Is plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery the same?

Is plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery the same?

Plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery are sometimes used interchangeably and is a cause of confusion. Plastic Surgery is a broader term and cosmetic surgery is one of the branches. It is important to raise public awareness about the diverse field of plastic surgery so that a well informed decision is made by a patient seeking surgery.

What is plastic surgery?

Plastic surgery is a broad field that includes both cosmetic surgery and reconstructive surgeries. Cosmetic surgery is one of the many branches of plastic surgery.

Plastic surgery includes:

  • Trauma Surgery
    • Lacerations,
    • deep cuts in hand/foot/face,
    • fractures of face)
  • Microsurgery
    • Small arteries repair
    • flaps for reconstruction
    • lymphatic issues)
  • Birth defect surgeries
    • Cleft lip
    • Cleft palate
    • Genital surgery
    • congenital giant mole
    • deformity of skull
  • Hand Surgery 
    • Tendon injury
    • Muscle injury
    • Carpal tunnel surgery
    • brachial plexus surgery
  • Maxillofacial surgery
    • Face deformities
    • TM joint ankyloses
    • chin deformities
  • Burn Surgery
    • Acute burn
    • Old burn
    • Burn deformities
    • Burn contracture
  • Reconstructive Surgery
    • Cancer reconstruction surgery
    • flaps/skin grafting
  • Cosmetic Surgery
    • Liposuction
    • Nose job
    • Tummy Tuck
    • Gynecomastia surgery
    • facelift

What is cosmetic surgery?

Cosmetic or aesthetic surgery is generally referred by general public as plastic surgery. Cosmetic surgery is a branch that involves surgery to not only improve appearance but boost self- esteem and self-confidence.

Cosmetic Surgery includes:


Cosmetic surgery is a planned elective surgery and is done on a healthy person. It is not covered by insurance.


Which cosmetic procedures does insurance cover?

There are very few indications when a cosmetic surgery can be covered under an insurance policy. Breast reduction and Septo rhinoplasty can be included under some policy.

If a female is experiencing neck pain/back pain because of breast weight and size then a breast reduction surgery is justified under insurance. In case of people with difficulty in breathing due to deviated nasal septum a septo rhinoplasty can be covered.


What should you know before selecting a surgeon?

An easier way to select the best is to ask for the credentials of your surgeon. It requires years of training to become a plastic surgeon who then specializes in fields like cosmetic surgery/onco reconstruction/ hand surgery).

Timeline to become a Plastic & Cosmetic Surgeon

M.B.B.S: 5 and a half years

M.S: 3 years

M.Ch: Plastic Surgery

Fellowships (3 months- 3 years)


In this era of Social media boom, it is important to realize that even a M.B.B.S or Ayurveda doctor can claim to be a cosmetic surgeon due to lack of public awareness and willpower of authorities to stop quackery.

Your body is a temple that needs to be taken care by a priest who is well knowledgeable and efficient. Don’t compromise on quality over pricing. A surgery which is undertaken to improve self -confidence should not end up with a permanent scar both physically and mentally due to untrained hands!