Reconstructive vs. Cosmetic Surgery

Posted by administration on May 15, 2017

Reconstructive_vs_Cosmetic_Surgery.jpgFrequently, the terms “reconstructive surgery” and “cosmetic surgery” are used to describe the same types of surgery. At times, there is great confusion as to what defines and separates these two very different categories of plastic surgery.

Reconstructive plastic surgery is performed on abnormal structures of the body caused by congenital defects, developmental abnormalities, trauma, infection, tumors or disease. It is used to improve function but also done to improve appearance. Reconstructive surgery is generally covered by most health insurance policies although coverage for specific procedures and levels of coverage can and will vary greatly. Common reconstructive surgeries include:

  • Breast Reduction
  • Breast Reconstruction
  • Cleft Lip and Palate Repair
  • Hand Surgery
  • Scar Revision
  • Skin Cancer
  • Tissue Expansion

The goal of cosmetic plastic surgery is to reshape parts of the body in order to improve appearance and self-esteem. Cosmetic surgery is usually not covered by health insurance because it is elective and not medically necessary. Cosmetic surgery includes the following types of procedures:

  • Breast Augmentation
  • Arm Lift
  • Body Lift
  • Body Contouring after Weight Loss
  • Breast Lift
  • Brow Lift
  • Breast Reduction
  • Dermabrasion
  • Dermal fillers
  • Chemical Peel
  • Chin Surgery
  • Ear Surgery
  • Eyelid Surgery
  • Liposuction
  • Rhinoplasty
  • Facial Implants
  • Facelift
  • Thigh Lift
  • Tummy Tuck

What defines reconstructive and cosmetic surgery isn’t so much the surgical procedure itself, but the purpose or desired goal of the procedure’s outcome. For instance, breast augmentation surgery can be purely aesthetic, to enhance the existing breasts; or it can be medical or reconstructive, to repair or reconstruct damaged or distorted breast tissue. Another example is rhinoplasty. A severely broken nose that needs surgery to fix and straighten will typically fall under reconstructive surgery. A nose that functions properly but needs to be straightened or needs to have a size change for a more attractive appearance would fall under cosmetic surgery.

For more information about reconstructive vs. cosmetic surgery, contact Advanced Cosmetic Surgery Center in Denver at 303-367-9000 or


Leave a Reply

(Your email will not be publicly displayed.)

Captcha Code

Click the image to see another captcha.