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Differences Between Plastic Surgery and Reconstructive Surgery

Apr 25, 2008
Physical appearance is an important part of modern life, and all around well being. Looking good on the outside can drastically improve how you feel on the inside. To achieve this end, over a million American men and women elect to undergo plastic surgery procedures performed by surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) each year. The results are often dramatic and permanent, so it is important that the patient knows what to expect and that he or she chooses a surgeon wisely. People that are seeking advice on plastic surgery and referral to a plastic surgeon may turn first to their family physicians.

Although the outward effects may be similar, and sometimes identical, the terms cosmetic and reconstructive surgery are not interchangeable. The plastic surgeon performs cosmetic surgery to reshape normal structures of the face or body in order to improve the patient's appearance and self-esteem. Reconstructive surgery is performed to correct abnormalities of facial or body structures caused by congenital defects, developmental abnormalities, injuries, previous or concurrent surgeries, infection, tumors, or other disease. The purpose of reconstructive surgery is generally to improve function, but it may also be used to restore a normal appearance.

These distinctions have implications for insurance coverage. Nearly all insurance carriers cover reconstructive procedures for functional restoration but not those performed purely for cosmetic reasons. In general, the classification as cosmetic or reconstructive depends on the reason that the surgery is performed. For example, rhinoplasty to change the shape of the nose is considered cosmetic. However, rhinoplasty to restore the shape of the nose following traumatic deformity is reconstructive.

Corrective surgery to remove or minimize the effects of scarring usually provides cosmetic improvement. Insurance carriers, however, may recognize these procedures as reconstructive in nature because scars are abnormal formations that develop on the body as a result of injury or illness.

Whether you are you trying to change your current physical appearance, or undo a developmental deformity plastic surgery is a common way to achieve this goal. Looking the way you want to look on the outside, will help you feel the way you want to feel on the inside. It will improve your self image and help you restore your confidence in your outer appearance. Wear the clothes you want to wear, and go out into public without feeling insecure about how you look. Taking your time on deciding whether you want to undergo plastic surgery is a must. Make sure it is want you want.
About the Author
Dave Stringham is the President of LookingYourBest.com an online resource for plastic surgery. Learn more about breast augmentation and plastic surgery Phoenix Arizona procedures.
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