What’s the difference between a plastic and cosmetic surgeon?

Many men and women who are interested in enhancing their appearance in some way or another become confused about what is exactly the difference between a plastic surgeon and a cosmetic surgeon.

Cosmetic surgery is defined as a procedure that alters the patient’s face and body to achieve a more aesthetically-pleasing appearance. It is deemed as elective surgery because there is no medical need for the patient to undergo this procedure.

Plastic surgery is very different. In the UK, the Royal College of Surgeons lists ten different specialities. These include general surgery, cardiothoracic surgery, neurosurgery, otorhinolaryngology, also known as ENT or ear, nose and throat surgery, paediatric surgery, plastic surgery, trauma and orthopaedic surgery, urology, oral and maxillofacial surgery and vascular surgery.

The majority of the surgical disciplines are confined to a particular part of the body, but plastic surgery is one of the few specialities which is constrained to no clearly defined part of the face and body. A plastic surgeon such as Cambridge-based Mr Tariq Ahmad is skilled in operating on all areas of the face and body.

What is a plastic surgeon?

Plastic surgeons are also known as reconstructive surgeons as they work with patients whose appearance has been transformed as a result of injury, trauma or disease. For example, burns victims. Obviously, the aim of the surgery the perform for these patients is partly functional but it is also to improve the appearance of the patients. However, this is not elective in the way that cosmetic surgery is, but it is seen as a necessity as it improves that patient’s quality of life.

In terms of the title cosmetic surgeon, this is just a title that has become adopted by the media to make a differentiation with the reconstructive and aesthetic work done by plastic surgeons. The title cosmetic surgeon doesn’t mean anything – a general surgeon could call themselves a cosmetic surgeon and it doesn’t mean they have completed the many years’ training that a plastic surgeon has to undergo.

Checking my cosmetic surgeon’s qualifications

Cosmetic surgery can even be performed by a doctor or dermatologist. Always ensure that your cosmetic surgeon is a plastic surgeon who is or has held a consultant-level position in the NHS as a plastic surgeon. Mr Tariq Ahmad is a consultant plastic surgeon in the NHS in Cambridge as well as operating privately from all the top private hospitals in the Cambridge area.

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