Medical Malpractice: Plastic Surgery vs. Cosmetic Surgery

Do you know the difference between cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery? Oftentimes, these two are used interchangeably when someone is talking about having that tummy tuck done before getting ready for bathing suit weather. However, your plastic surgeon and your cosmetic surgeon are not the same! Knowing the difference between the two, along with a few helpful tips, may actually prevent a medical mistake from happening to you.

Plastic Surgery vs. Cosmetic Surgery

Plastic Surgery refers to corrective surgeries that are conducted most commonly for reconstructive or repairing purposes. These surgeries are performed to medically fix birth defects, burns, physical trauma, or even some diseases. Plastic surgeons are required to go through a medical residency and operate in accredited facilities.

Cosmetic Surgery is elective, because the alterations are typically made on body parts that still function, but simply lack some sort of aesthetic appeal. However, your cosmetic surgeon does not have to undergo a residency in cosmetic surgery. In fact, your surgeon could actually be an OBGYN, ophthalmologist, dermatologist, or other medical doctor.

There isn’t any law in the U.S. that requires a doctor to practice in his/her specified medical field. So, it’s important to know exactly who’s performing your surgery before you go under.

Other Tips to Help Avoid a Cosmetic or Plastic Surgery Medical Mistake

  • Do your research. Look for accreditations, certifications, or licensures from the American Board of Plastic Surgery, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, or the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery for Virginia, Maryland, or the District of Columbia.
  • Check your potential doctor’s surgical history. Look to see how many identical procedures your surgeon performed in the past. What’s the success rate? Is there a medical malpractice history?
  • Have your PCP refer you to a surgical specialist if possible.
  • Be skeptical of cheap bargains. Pay attention to how many staff members work at the facility. These can indicate the quality of medical work you might receive.
  • Make sure to get the right type of surgeon for the type of surgery you need. Don’t compromise expertise and qualifications for price.

Plastic and/or cosmetic surgeries are supposed to make your life, and appearance a little better, but sometimes, however, they don’t. In some cases, patients’ medical conditions or lives can end up worse than ever before.

Don’t let your dream of a “brand new you” turn into a nightmare. Be proactive before you undergo corrective surgery, and you could spare yourself a lifetime of physical, emotional, or medical health trauma. Do you find this article helpful? Please feel free to share it on Facebook or Twitter, and help us get the word out.