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Cosmetic vs. Reconstructive Surgery

By September 15, 2011 No Comments

Often times, when talking about plastic surgery, the term “cosmetic surgery” is the

only one that comes to mind. However, there is another type of plastic surgery
to be considered, “reconstructive surgery.” These two terms are very different
from one another and yet can encompass some of the same types of surgery. So
how do you know which term applies to you when getting plastic surgery?

Reconstructive surgery is performed to re-shape bodily tissues or fix an abnormal body part or facial feature in order to restore normal form and function of a body part. In most cases, the surgery will be covered by insurance and is frequently done in a hospital setting. Reconstructive surgery may be necessary because of trauma, birth defects, infection, or a tumor or disease. In some cases, reconstructive surgery may not be able to fully repair the issue but it can at least help to alleviate any health complications associated with the abnormality. Some common reconstructive procedures include fixing a broken nose, correcting a birth defect, or repairing a cleft lip.

Cosmetic surgery is performed not out of necessity because of a deformity or health
issue but solely to improve the appearance of the patient. Cosmetic surgery
modifies a body part or facial feature with the goal of enhancing one’s self
confidence. Since cosmetic surgery is elective, it is seldom covered by
insurance companies.  Some common cosmetic procedures are tummy tucks, face lifts, and Botox.

There are quite a few gray areas, however, where a procedure falls under the cosmetic
or reconstructive category, depending on the reason for surgery. One such
surgery is breast augmentation. Under normal circumstances, this procedure
would fall under category of cosmetic surgery. However, a patient could be a breast
cancer patient and then this procedure could be used to reconstruct the breast
and then would be considered reconstructive surgery.  Another such procedure is
rhinoplasty. A patient may have a broken nose that could impair the patients breathing
or the nose could be functioning properly but could be crooked from the break
making the patient self conscious about their appearance. If the nose is functioning
properly and the patient opts for surgery to change the size or shape, it would
fall under the realm of cosmetic surgery. If the patient needs surgery in order to restore
proper breathing, then the surgery would be considered reconstructive. At times, even though  the nose is being fixed in order to restore correct breathing, reshaping of the nose may occur enhancing the patient’s looks simultaneously.

To find out more about cosmetic and reconstructive surgery, call Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery Group today! (310) 853-5147