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

People often use the terms cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery interchangeably. However, they are both two very different specialties. If you are seeking to improve your appearance, weighing the decision of cosmetic surgeon vs. plastic surgeon may be the priority. Nearly 18 million people in the U.S. underwent cosmetic procedures in 2018, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).1

If you’re one of a growing number of people considering cosmetic or plastic surgery, here are some key differences to consider:


What Is Cosmetic Surgery?

Cosmetic surgery is primarily concerned with improving physical appearance. The main goals are improvements in symmetry and proportion, rather than to improve function. Performed anywhere on the body, cosmetic surgeries include:

  • Rhinoplasty, chin/cheek enhancements, ear adjustments, and other types of facial contouring
  • Facelifts, neck lifts, eyelid lifts, and other forms of facial rejuvenation
  • Breast augmentation, lift, or reduction
  • Liposuction, tummy tuck, and other body contouring procedures.
  • Skin fillers, laser resurfacing, and other skin rejuvenation treatments

cosmetic surgery


What Is Plastic Surgery?

Plastic surgery is a medical discipline focused on fixing defects, reconstructing body parts and features, and restoring appearance. It is often used to correct birth disorders and treat individuals affected by burns, trauma, or disease. Plastic surgery includes cosmetic enhancements, but a plastic surgeon may also treat burns, repair cleft palates, breast reconstruction, address scars or reconstruct extremities.

Plastic surgeons must complete their training as part of a post-graduate residency program. There are two paths to becoming board certified. To become Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, a physician must either complete a residency training program that includes three years each of general surgery and plastic surgery or an independent five-year general surgery residency program, plus a three-year plastic surgery program.

Who Performs Cosmetic Surgery?

Legally, any physician with licensure can perform cosmetic procedures.  However, it is not recommended to utilize a practitioner unless they are well trained; plastic surgeons are the most suited to perform cosmetic surgery.


It’s All in the Training

Board certification will tell you a lot about a surgeon’s qualifications and their areas of expertise. As President of the Los Angeles Society of Plastic Surgeons, Dr. Grossman has over 20 years of experience in reconstructive and cosmetic surgery. He graduated from Northwestern University and the Chicago Medical School, and  continued his medical education with a general surgery residency at Cedars Sinai Medical Center. Furthermore, a plastic and reconstructive surgery residency at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and fellowships in breast reconstructive surgery, aesthetic and endoscopic surgery at the University of Alabama, Birmingham.

His extensive surgical background is a key factor in achieving beautiful, natural looking results for his patients. If you are searching for a plastic surgeon near you, Dr. Peter H Grossman’s state of the art Surgi-Center is located in West Hills, California. Request a consultation online or call 818-981-2050.



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