PSC Roundtable

Understanding the Difference Between Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeons

Understanding the Difference Between Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeons


There seems to be ongoing confusion between the monikers “plastic surgeon” and “cosmetic surgeon,” and rightly so. Plastic surgeons can be loosely termed cosmetic surgeons, and also aesthetic plastic surgeons, since often they are performing cosmetic surgery to improve a patient’s aesthetics. This is entirely what a cosmetic surgeon does, but they aren’t plastic surgeons. Confused yet?

With a bit of historical knowledge, the two types of surgeons can readily be teased apart. The history of plastic surgery is deeper and grander than the common understanding of the specialty, with its roots tracing back to helping the mangled bodies and faces of World War 1 soldiers. In this PSC Round Table, board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Dustin Reid details this history, and is helped by Dr. Ashley Gordon and Dr. Anu Bajaj to finally put the question to rest: What is the difference between a plastic surgeon and a cosmetic surgeon?

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