Sorting Out Cosmetic Surgery and Plastic Surgery

As with many areas of medicine, the terms “cosmetic surgery” and “plastic surgery” can be confusing.

So how does someone who wants to improve their appearance differentiate the terminology and find a qualified doctor?

First, better understand the medical terminology.

  • Cosmetic surgery refers to procedures that improve a patient’s aesthetic appearance and can be performed on the head, neck, breasts and other body areas. Breast augmentations or reductions, face lifts, thigh or buttock lifts, tummy tucks and nose reshaping are examples of cosmetic surgery.
  • Plastic surgery includes reconstructive surgery, such as burn repair, cleft palate repair, and many other operations designed to restore function or appearance because of injury or defect. Where the terms get confusing is that plastic surgery also includes procedures that come under the specialty of cosmetic surgery.

Many surgeons, including Dr. Stephanie Oberhelman, have extensive experience and training in cosmetic procedures. Board-certified plastic surgeons perform reconstructive surgery but do not necessarily have extensive experience and training in various cosmetic procedures.

So, for patients interested in cosmetic procedures, the best, most prudent approach is to examine a physician’s training in specific procedures and to ask the doctor about their experience. Dr. Oberhelman is a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, read more about her credentials here. Kansas Surgical Arts offers complimentary consultations to new and current patients in good standing. To schedule, call (316) 722-1333 or read more about our consultation process.

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