Are Plastic And Cosmetic Surgery The Same?


Cosmetic surgery is a type of plastic surgery that aims to improve a person’s appearance, but it should be approached with caution.

Facial features allow us to interact with fellow community members, and therefore, many people consider facial plastic surgery to be very important in a person’s quality of life.

Procedures are available for almost any part of facial features, but the choice to undergo facial cosmetic surgery should not be taken lightly.

Since the results are often permanent, it is important to be sure about the decision, to choose an appropriate practitioner, and to have the right motivation.

History Of Modern Facial Plastic Surgery

The practice of modern facial plastic surgery began more than 100 years ago.  Medical practitioners who believed in treating physical defects that caused patients psychological distress, social, and/or economic disadvantages pioneered the creation of facial plastic surgery as a subspecialty of otolaryngology (or ear, nose, and throat specialty)

Jacques Joseph is considered the founding father of modern facial plastic surgery, and he pioneered many of the earliest surgical aesthetic techniques that were later adopted and modified by fellow surgeons.

Are Plastic And Cosmetic Surgery The Same?

Many people believe that thought cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery are essentially the same, however, this is not true.

While both cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery deal with improving a patient’s body, and the terms are often used interchangeably, cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery are closely related specialties, but they are not the same

Our facial features help us interact with people daily, and can impact how others perceive us. Sometimes, people with certain birth defects would like to correct those abnormalities, and other times, individuals who are not happy with parts of their faces might want to improve certain features.

Conditions that affect the facial features like the effects of aging, damage due to exposure to the sun, or other previous traumas can be treated by a skilled surgeon through surgeries. 

Cosmetic Surgery: The procedures, methods, techniques of cosmetic surgery are mainly aimed at improving a patient’s visual appearance. The entire goals of these procedures, are to enhance aesthetic appeal, symmetry, and proportion of the facial features.

 You can even have aesthetic surgeries performed in all areas of your head, neck, and body.

Many patients seek surgical treatment to reverse changes that occur with aging, such as loose skin, decreased tissue volume around the face and neck, crow’s-feet at the corner of eyes, fine lines on the forehead, loss of jawline contour, sagging jowl, and double chin.

Some common surgical procedures include:

  • Rhinoplasty (nose job)
  • Blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery)
  • Rhytidectomy (facelift)
  • Platysmaplasty (neck lift)
  • Jawline Enhancement
  • Forehead Contouring and Reduction
  • Otoplasty (ear repositioning)
  • Buccal Fat Removal
  • Genioplasty (chin augmentation)
  • Dimple Creation

Plastic Reconstructive Surgery:  This procedure is defined as a surgical specialty dedicated to the reconstruction of facial and anatomical defects caused by trauma, disease, and birth disorder. Plastic surgery is intended to correct dysfunctional areas of the body and is, by definition, reconstructive in nature. 

Some procedures may include:

  • Scar revision
  • Craniomaxillofacial fracture repair
  • Laceration repair
  • Vascular malformation treatment
  • Cleft lip and palate repair
  • Orthognathic surgery
  • Cancer reconstruction

In this article, while we aim to give brief explanations and introductions to facial cosmetic surgery only, there will be a short fragment on Cleft lip and palate repairing procedure too.

If you have questions regarding your condition or treatments, don’t hesitate to contact us via our free medical consultation services. Our team of medical experts is ready to answer any concerns you might have.

Types of Facial Cosmetic Procedures

Rhinoplasty (Nose Job)

Perhaps the most commonly performed and most difficult facial plastic surgery is rhinoplasty. It is performed to correct intrinsic and extrinsic nasal pathology, to modify unsatisfactory aesthetic appearances, to reduce airway obstruction (due to septal deviation, inferior turbinate hypertrophy, deviated/fractured nasal bones, and narrow internal nasal valve area), and can be also done to reconstruct congenital nasal anomalies.

Depending on how complex your surgery is and what your surgeon prefers, rhinoplasty can be done under general anesthesia, or local anesthesia with sedation.

Among the doctors who are qualified to perform a rhinoplasty are plastic surgeons, facial plastic surgeons, or otolaryngologists (ENT).

Blepharoplasty (Eyelid Surgery)

Blepharoplasty or otherwise known as Eyelid surgery is a type of medical procedure that helps repair droopy eyelids with removing excess skin, muscle, and fat

With growing older, your eyelids stretch, and the muscles supporting them begin to weaken. As a result, excess fat may gather above and/or below your eyelids, causing weighing eyebrows, sagging upper lids, and dark under-eye bags.

These are some of the major reasons why many people consider eyelid surgery to remove and tighten excess eyelid skin for a more youthful and rejuvenated appearance.

This surgery can be performed on the upper lids, lower lids, or both. Sometimes blepharoplasty also can improve your vision once droopy eyelids are improved, by providing a less obstructed field of view and improved peripheral (side) vision.

For your specific situation, your doctor might remove the excess skin but leave your muscles intact during surgery.

Rhytidectomy (Facelift)

facelift, or rhytidectomy, is a surgical procedure that improves visible signs of aging in the face and neck, such as:

  • Relaxation of the skin of the face causing sagging
  • Deepening of the fold lines between the nose and corner of the mouth
  • The fat that has fallen or has disappeared
  • Jowls developing in the cheeks and jaw
  • Loose skin and excess fat of the neck that can appear as a double chin or “turkey neck”

The loss of youthful contours in the face can be due to a variety of factors, including thinning of the skin, loss of facial fat, gravity, sun damage, smoking, as well as heredity and stress.

Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.

Platysmaplasty (Neck Lift)

A neck lift (also known as platysmaplasty) is a cosmetic plastic surgery procedure aimed to removes excess skin and fat from the neck. The procedure is performed to address wrinkling and creasing in the area of the neck caused by aging and provides a smoother, slimmer appearance.

The procedure takes several hours and is performed under general anesthesia or via IV sedation.

During the surgery, your doctor will make small cuts around and behind your ears and a very small one under the chin.

Next, your surgeon will carefully lift the muscles of the neck and remove excess skin and fat. Then they will stitch up the incisions and apply a pressure dressing around your head and underneath the chin.

Jawline Enhancement

Jawline enhancement is a reconstructive cosmetic procedure, intending to improve the visual appearance of the jaw, and remedy any structural abnormalities or problems with it.  These problems can be caused by congenital defects or facial injuries.

There are 2 types of jawline enhancement procedures:

  1. Surgical jawline enhancement: where the surgeon aims to improve the symmetry, appearance, and function of the jaw with the help of implants.
  2. Non-surgical enhancement: also known as dermal filler jawline enhancement, this procedure is performed without any surgery and is typically done to rejuvenate and improve aesthetic appearance.

Both of these procedures are very commonly done by specialists. They are performed under local anesthesia and take about 1-2 hours. 

Forehead Contouring and Reduction

Forehead reduction surgery also knows as forehead reshaping and contouring is a craniofacial surgical procedure typically performed for aesthetic purposes.

It can help patients with asymmetrical foreheads and will correct out of balance foreheads that don’t go well with other facial features in some way.

The surgery is performed under general anesthesia and takes about 1-3 hours.

During your procedure, the surgeon reconstructs the upper bones of your eyebrows to reduce the size and to improve the shape of the forehead.

The surgeon usually removes the frontal bone, reshapes it, and reattaches it.

If the forehead needs to be deformed and filled due to a ridge or concavity, synthetic materials (methylmethacrylate) are used to create the desired shape.

Otoplasty (Ear Repositioning)

Otoplasty (also called cosmetic ear surgery) is an operation to change the size, position, or shape of the ears. People with abnormalities in their ears, either due to trauma or birth defects, can consider having otoplasty.

Otoplasty is typically done on both ears to improve symmetry and can be done at any age after the ears have reached their full size — usually after age 5.

This procedure won’t alter or improve your hearing abilities. 

Otoplasty can be done in a hospital or an outpatient surgical facility and usually takes about 2 hours.

Depending on your situation and doctor’s suggestion, otoplasty can be done either under general anesthesia – where the patient is asleep during surgery– or under local anesthesia and sedation – which only numbs a certain part of the body. With both of these, you won’t be able to feel any pain during surgery.

Depending on your surgeon’s technique, the location and the resulting scars from it can be different in cases.

After making incisions, your doctor may remove excess cartilage and skin. They will then fold the cartilage to shape the ears into the desired position and hold it in place with internal stitches.

After the cartilage is shaped,  your surgeon will use additional stitches to close the incisions.

Buccal Fat Removal

The goal of buccal fat removal is to give the cheeks a thinner look, specifically in the area where the cheek hollows.

In the area where the cheeks have a hollowness to them, there is a naturally occurring pad of fat, known as the buccal fat pad. With this surgery, your doctor aims to remove this pad of fat making your cheeks appear thinner.

Different patients have different sizes of buccal fat in their cheeks, and even each patient can have different sized fat pads on each of their cheeks.

During the procedure, you will be given medications to help you relax. The procedure can be performed via intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.

Genioplasty (Chin Augmentation)

Genioplasty is a type of surgery that helps with enhancing the shape of the chin.

There are two main types of genioplasty: sliding genioplasty and chin implants.

  1. In a sliding genioplasty, a surgeon uses a saw to cut the chin bone away from the rest of the jaw and move it to correct a chin deficiency. This is also called an osseous genioplasty.
  2. Chin implants can be used to reshape, resize, or push forward the appearance of the chin. You can get this done by either surgery or injection.

During a surgical chin augmentation procedure, your doctor will implant a plastic material into the chin and secure it to the bone. Alloplastic implants that are made from synthetic materials are the most common types used in surgeries.

For nonsurgical chin augmentation, your doctor will inject fillers using needles. These fillers can be from body fats and will improve the appearance of the chin.

Dimple Creation

A dimpleplasty is a type of plastic surgery performed to create dimples on the cheeks. 

A dimple creation surgery is performed on an outpatient basis. This means you can get the procedure done at your surgeon’s office without having to go to the hospital. You will also be put under local anesthesia.

Your doctor will use a small biopsy instrument to make a hole in your skin to create a dimple manually. A small amount of muscle – usually 2-3 millimeters in length – is removed to create the dimple.  

Once your doctor creates the space for the future dimple, they then put a suture (sling) from one side of the cheek muscle to the other. By tying this suture, the dimple is set permanently in place.

Cleft Lip And Palate Repair

Cleft lip and palate repair surgery is categorized as plastic reconstructive surgery, and can surgically correct abnormal development, restoring function to the lips and mouth, and help produce a more normal appearance.

Patients with cleft lips and palates, who have difficulties in speaking, eating, breathing, or even hearing, can expect to get effective results with specialized plastic surgery that address all these issues. 

For the surgery, patients will be under intravenous sedation and general anesthesia, meaning they will be asleep and won’t feel any pain during the process of the procedure.

The key aim of cleft lip repair is to close the division in the lip and to help achieve a more normal structure, function, and overall appearance of the upper lip.

To repair a cleft lip, your surgeon will make incisions on both sides of the cleft to create flaps of skin, muscle, and intraoral tissue. These tissues will then be drawn together and stitched close to get rid of the cleft and achieve a typical lip and nose anatomy.

Bottom Line

People who are considering cosmetic surgery need to weigh up the options carefully before going ahead. It is important to choose a surgeon who is qualified and accredited by a professional board.

We offer affordable facial plastic surgery plans, with the best medical experts in the field.

Make sure to do your research thoroughly when choosing your treatment options.

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