Cosmetic vs. Plastic Surgery Procedures: What's the Difference?

by Sandhya Balasubramanyan Plastic Surgeon

The terms cosmetic and plastic surgery are used interchangeably. But whether you require a reconstructive procedure or a cosmetic surgery is decided by a skilled surgeon.

Cosmetic surgery is a subset of medical surgery that is performed voluntarily and improves an individual’s body's appearance. However, plastic surgery is a more general field that deals with reconstructing the body in order to remove scars, and burn marks, and reconstruct of the body areas after cancer, and deformities that result from birth defects.

In this article, we will explore the different kinds of surgeries that are performed in cosmetic and plastic surgery. To make this post knowledgeable, we have gathered insights from Dr. Sandhya Balasubramanyan, one of the most renowned cosmetic surgeons in Bangalore. She is well known for giving her patients a new life while putting their safety first. Continue reading to learn.

What Procedures are Performed Under Cosmetic Surgery?

The main goal of cosmetic surgery is to enhance a person's look. Cosmetic surgeons operate on all body parts, aiming to enhance the symmetry and attractiveness of the area they operate on. There are various kinds of procedures that are involved in cosmetic surgery, including:

  1. Rhinoplasty: It is a procedure used to modify the nose's shape. The nose is made up of skin on top of bone and cartilage. Beyond improving one’s appearance overall, rhinoplasty is sometimes done to address breathing issues. Patients with haemophilia are not advised to have a rhinoplasty. In addition, having had any previous facial or head surgery strictly prohibits one from having a rhinoplasty.
  2. Blepharoplasty: This kind of surgery involves removing extra skin from the eyelids. It could be performed for upper eyelids that are droopy or baggy, upper eyelid excess skin that partially obscures peripheral vision, lower eyelid excess skin, and bags under the eyes.
  3. Liposuction: Liposuction is a technique used to eliminate body fat. It entails using an aspirator to remove fat through the use of a cannula or other hollow tube-like instrument. The purpose of this procedure is to make one’s body's outline look more attractive and slimmer.
  4. Abdominoplasty: An abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure used to firm and thin the skin surrounding the stomach. Usually, people who have recovered from a significant weight loss or pregnancy undergo this surgery. Acute incisions are made around the hip region, and the skin is sutured to separate it from the wall of the abdomen and accentuate the muscular contours.
  5. Augmentation mammoplasty: An operation where implants are placed beneath the chest's tissues. Women can decide to have this surgery after becoming pregnant.  It helps them become more confident and boost their self-worth. But there are a lot of risks associated with it. Medical professionals may advise an MRI or ultrasound prior to this procedure. 
  6. Anti-wrinkle Injections Treatment: Anti-wrinkle injections, when used in small doses, smooth out wrinkles on the skin. The goal of these injections is to paralyze the nerves and cause contractions in the muscles by attacking the nervous system. The frown lines are eliminated by administering an anti-wrinkle injection in the space between the eyebrows. Additionally, it helps eliminate lines on the forehead, corners of the mouth, crow's feet, and wrinkles around the eyes. Headaches, dry eyes, numbness, bruising, temporary paralysis, weakness, and double vision are some of the side effects of this procedure, but they subside in sometime.

What Procedures are Performed Under Plastic Surgery?

Plastic surgery involves treating congenital deformities with surgery on the face, neck, and skull. This surgery has been practiced for centuries. The earliest known account of a broken nose being treated is found in an inscription on an ancient Egyptian papyrus. In India, reconstruction techniques date back to 800 BC. Sir Harold Gillies, who treated soldiers with burns and facial contortions during World War I, is typically regarded as the founder of modern surgical techniques involving facial modifications.

  1. Skin Grafting: Skin grafting is one of the most popular procedures in plastic surgery. In this procedure, epidermal tissues are transferred from a donor to a recipient.  This technique successfully sutures wounds that have been incised, tissues that are connected, and injuries that match skin folds or lines.
  2. Hand Surgery: Hand surgery is used to treat chronic and nerve-related disorders of the wrist, palms, and arms. Furthermore, it aids in the treatment of peripheral nerve defects, such as brachial plexus wounds and carpal tunnel syndrome.
  3. Microsurgeries: The primary goals of microsurgeries are to repair damaged tissue in the neck and head areas and to reconnect blood vessels.
  4. Pediatric Plastic Surgery: Pediatric plastic surgery focuses on treating congenital disabilities such as polydactyly, or an excess of fingers or toes, and syndactyly, or the webbing of fingers and toes.


Cosmetic procedures involve reshaping and adjusting an existing anatomy to improve someone's overall appearance and make something more visually appealing. This can involve treatments like anti-wrinkle injections to reduce wrinkles, liposuction to aid in the removal of stubborn fat, rhinoplasty to reshape the nose, a hair transplant to promote hair growth, and a facelift to lift up the saggy skin and provide a more youthful appearance. 

Conversely, reconstructive surgery is used to repair birth defects, the effects of certain medical conditions like breast cancer and other types of cancer, and trauma from accidents or injuries in order to restore function and appearance. Reconstructive and cosmetic surgery are frequently performed together. A surgeon often performs these procedures together to optimize the cosmetic outcome for patients in either situation.

If one is looking to get reconstructive surgery for a birth defect or trauma or wants to get cosmetic surgery to enhance their aesthetic appearance, they may consult with Dr. Sandhya Bala, renowned as the best plastic surgeon in Hyderabad, who is highly experienced in performing both types of surgeries. She is skilled in performing rhinoplasty, abdominoplasty, cheek and chin implants, laser treatment for abnormalities of the face, scar revision, eyelid surgery and other procedures. She has been consulting at Columbia Asia Hospital in Hyderabad and has made significant advancements in the field of plastic surgery. She has helped many women and men feel comfortable in their own skin again. Visit her for more details!

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About Sandhya Balasubramanyan Freshman   Plastic Surgeon

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Joined APSense since, November 8th, 2023, From Bangalore, India.

Created on Feb 29th 2024 06:41. Viewed 93 times.


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