The Difference between Plastic Surgery and Cosmetic Surgery | Elite Facial Plastic Surgery, Cosmetic Surgery, Tampa FL

Tampa cosmetic surgeons are aware that many people believe that plastic and cosmetic surgeries are one in the same. A significant amount of plastic surgeons chose to focus their practice on cosmetic surgery, so many people use the terms interchangeably; however, this is technically incorrect. The plastic surgery professionals at Elite Facial Plastic Surgery of Tampa, explain that while cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery are closely related specialties, they are definitely not the same.

Our Tampa plastic surgery experts cover some of the key differences between cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery:

  1. Cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery have different overarching philosophies and goals for patient outcomes.
  • Cosmetic surgery is focused on enhancing an individual’s appearance. The scope of cosmetic surgery procedures includes:
    • Breast enhancement
    • Facial contouring
    • Facial rejuvenation
    • Body contouring
    • Skin rejuvenation
  • Plastic surgery in Tampa has a focus on repairing defects in efforts to reconstruct a normal function and/or appearance. Some examples of plastic surgery are:
    • Burn repair surgery
    • Breast reconstruction
    • Congenital defect repair
    • Hand surgery
    • Scar revision surgery


  1. Cosmetic surgeons are trained separately from plastic surgeons. The training and board certification processes are very different between the two types of surgeons.
  • Plastic surgery training is done through a post-graduate residency program. Physicians are required to do a general surgery residency and then complete 2 additional years in plastic surgery.
  • Cosmetic surgery training is primarily completed after residency training. There are no existing cosmetic surgery residency programs. Cosmetic surgeons in Tampa, Florida must complete a post-residency fellowship.

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