What’s the Difference Between Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery?

difference between cosmetic and plastic surgery

Okanagan Health Surgical Centre, is a private hospital situated in the heart of the Okanagan Valley. Our team of board-certified surgeons offer a range of safe and effective general, orthopedic, cosmetic and plastic surgeries to help enhance your appearance and restore strength to your body.

Commonly Plastic Surgery and Cosmetic Surgery terms can get muddled so to for you to fully understand the difference between the two, we have outlined them in this article.

What is Plastic Surgery?

Plastic surgery is a branch of surgery specializing in repairing and reconstructing missing or damaged tissue and skin, usually due to an:

  • Illness
  • Injury
  • Birth abnormality

A plastic surgeon’s main aim is to restore the function of the tissues and the skin. Improving the appearance of body parts is an important, but secondary, aim.

Our board-certified plastic surgeons offer advanced surgical services including:

  • Ganglion cyst removals
  • Carpal tunnel release
  • Tendon repairs

Our highly skilled and specialized team provides quality private surgical care to help restore the function, strength and flexibility to your body.

What is Cosmetic Surgery?

Cosmetic surgery is recognized by the American Medical Association (AMA) as a separate and distinct speciality from plastic surgery.

It is a unique discipline of medicine performed on functional and healthy body parts with the main aim being to improve their aesthetic appeal.

Some examples of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures include:

  • Facelift surgery
  • Blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery)
  • Neck lift

Combination Treatment

Plastic surgeons are able to fix concerns such as cleft palets, broken noses or scarring but they can also perform cosmetic surgery. In fact, certain procedures such as rhinoplasty and  breast surgery can be both reconstructive and cosmetic.

For example, plastic surgery may be used to correct a structural imperfection such as a deviated septum which impedes breathing, while simultaneously improving the appearance of the patient’s nose.

Plastic Surgeon vs Cosmetic Surgeon

There is also a significant difference in a patient choosing a cosmetic surgeon or a plastic surgeon to perform the procedure, the primary one being the training that they have undergone.

Selecting a qualified plastic surgeon with extensive experience in the procedure you are considering is essential.

At Kelowna Health Surgical Centre, we have a skilled team of board-certified plastic surgeons who are fully trained to provide a scope of cosmetic and plastic surgery procedures and give our patients the safest and most effective results.

Learn About Our Team of Plastic Surgeons

If you have any questions about a particular procedure or the credentials of one of our surgeons one of our friendly staff would be happy to help.  Please contact our private health care centre at (250)-868-9799 or toll-free at (877)-505-8895


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I wish to thank you for excellent care during my recent surgery for a torn knee meniscus on Oct. 30th. The excellent guidance and care was very evident from the front desk personnel through an including those responsible for pre-op instructions, post-op instructions, anesthesia, and finally Dr. O’Brien’s surgery and follow up discussion. How nice to see a facility staffed with such competent and caring people.

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