What is the difference between cosmetic and reconstructive surgery?

which wayAre you confused about whether the procedure you’re thinking of having done is considered cosmetic or reconstructive surgery? If so you wouldn’t be alone.

While the two types of surgery are very different, they are often considered one and the same. Whether you want to know out of sheer curiosity, or you need to know because your insurance claim relies upon it, below you’ll discover everything you need to know about the differences between the two types of procedures.

Understanding the main differences

The biggest difference between cosmetic and reconstructive surgery is that one is a choice and the other is actually needed. With cosmetic surgery, it is used to enhance the appearance based upon personal preference. Reconstructive surgery on the other hand is typically carried out to fix a problem.

As reconstructive surgery is something that is medically required, it is often included within health insurance policies and may also be available on the NHS. However, even if you choose to undergo the procedure privately, it is recommended you double check with your insurer before undergoing the surgery as some restrictions may apply. If you’re having cosmetic surgery, this won’t usually be covered as it’s a choice, not a necessity.

You might find it interesting to know that the majority of cosmetic procedures carried out today are actually modified from reconstructive surgery. The majority of reconstructive surgeons are also cosmetic surgeons, though many do prefer to focus solely on reconstructive procedures.

Grey areas do exist between the two

What makes it more difficult to tell the difference between reconstructive and cosmetic surgery is there are a lot of grey areas. For example, if you’ve suffered severe burns to your face after an accident, you’d want to have surgery for cosmetic reasons, to regain a more normal appearance. However, it might also be medically necessary to have surgery, particularly if there’s a high risk of infection or other health issues.

Due to the sheer amount of grey areas that do exist, it’s recommended you contact your insurer to double check if the surgery you require is covered.

Overall if you’re just looking to enhance the size of your breasts because you aren’t happy with their natural size, this is a cosmetic procedure. If, on the other hand, you need surgery to reduce dropping eyelids as they are obscuring your vision, this would be reconstructive surgery.

Your surgeon will be able to tell you exactly what type of procedure you’re having done. Remember, before having any type of surgery you should always research both the risks and benefits associated with the procedure.