What is the Difference between Cosmetic and Reconstructive Surgery?
Oftentimes, the words “cosmetic surgery” and “reconstructive surgery” are used to describe the same types of plastic surgery. However, these are two very different categories, and it is important to know the difference if you are interested in plastic surgery.
Reconstructive surgery involves fixing an abnormal body part or facial feature and reconstructing it to appear normal. Reconstructive surgery may necessary because of:
- Birth defects
- Developmental abnormalities
- Tumors and disease
Reconstructive surgery is typically performed to improve function, to make a deformity appear more normal, or to alleviate health complications associated with the abnormality. Reconstructive surgery is covered by most health insurance policies, but coverage for specific procedures and levels of coverage vary.
A reconstructive procedure may include:
- Fixing a broken nose
- Correcting birth defects
- Repairing a cleft lip
Cosmetic surgery is not necessary because of a deformity or health issue, it is performed solely to improve your appearance. Instead of reshaping your body’s normal structure, cosmetic surgery modifies a body part or facial feature with the primary goal of enhancing your self-confidence. This type of plastic surgery is elective, so it is seldom covered by insurance companies.
Breast augmentation usually falls into the cosmetic surgery category. However, if you are a breast cancer patient and are undergoing breast enhancement surgery to reconstruct your breast, this is considered reconstructive surgery.
When breast augmentation is not performed to reconstruct breasts that have been lost to cancer, breast enhancement surgeries are cosmetic. Examples of other cosmetic procedures include:
- Tummy tuck surgery
- Facial surgery such as a facelift or brow lift
- Anti-aging procedures such as injectable fillers
- Hair replacement treatments
Reconstructive or Cosmetic?
There are a number of other "gray areas," where a procedure falls under the cosmetic or reconstructive category, depending on the reason for surgery. For example, a severely broken nose that needs surgery to fix and straighten will typically qualify for reconstructive surgery. If your nose functions properly, but you want to change the size or shape, this falls under cosmetic surgery.
If you live in the Denver, Colorado area and are interested in plastic surgery to enhance the shape of your body, please contact our office to schedule your no-cost consultation. The staff at the Broadway Center for Plastic Surgery looks forward to serving you.