1585 Kapiolani Blvd. Suite 1740 Honolulu, HI 96814

A Tale of 2 Surgeons: Plastic vs. Cosmetic

A tale of two surgeons: plastic vs cosmetic.

What is the difference between cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery? If you ask this question to the general population, you might hear that they are pretty much the same thing. But they are really not. 

Plastic Surgery – Reconstructive  A plastic surgeon repairs body parts harmed by trauma or birth defects. The trauma may be: man-made (car accidents)natural disasters (hurricanes/earthquakes)mutations with undesirable results (cleft lip and palate)  

There are more types of trauma than you can name here. And any plastic surgeon handles a good majority of them. Of course, some surgeons leave the general practice and specialize on one or two body parts. Basically, the plastic surgeon works with damaged body parts with the focus to make them functional and whole again. 

This is a general field with many specialties. And a plastic surgeon must be familiar with them all, to some degree. Thus, the training for a plastic surgeon is vast and takes many years. 

Related Posts: Hourglass Figures are Back in Style

Cosmetic Surgery – Aesthetic  A cosmetic surgeon begins with functional body part and makes it prettier. The procedure may deal with making: lips fuller breasts larger or smaller facelift, neck or eyelid lift liposuction, tummy tuck  

Naturally, this is a shortened list of potential procedures of cosmetic surgery. The training for cosmetic surgery is truncated and more specialized than the plastic surgeon. It lacks the full discipline of how the whole body works together, focusing only on certain parts. In some cases, a cosmetic surgeon need spend only a few days in training for a certain procedure. 


A plastic surgeon is qualified to work as a cosmetic surgeon, but not the other way around. Regardless, the history of the surgeon you choose should be researched. You will find that some plastic surgeons are not very talented and that some cosmetic surgeons are highly prized, and vice versa. 

Do Your Homework 

If in search of fixing a major or minor trauma, or simply want your hips to be more attractive, you want to research the qualifications of the surgeon you choose. 

When making your choice for a plastic surgeon, note that he or she has been certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. This is has the full recognition of the American Board of Medical Specialties. 

For a cosmetic surgeon, the qualifications are trickier. To have a license, the surgeon need not employ as many qualifications. Cosmetic surgeons may be certified from the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. However, this entity is not recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. Some certifications might not have surgical specialties. 

Therefore, the best way to choose is by seeking out previous patients and checking with the BBB. A long-standing practice is best, as it shows experience. Requesting services from a doctor who moves from practice to practice is questionable. 

It is your body and you have the right to choose a qualified doctor when considering any type of surgery. Be prepared to ask the right questions. 

Hawaii Vein logo

Call (808) 949-8346 or Email