The question has the different areas of surgery out of place, it should be plastic and reconstructive surgery versus cosmetic surgery. Both of these surgical specialties are recognized by the medical association. The most basic difference between the two fields is that plastic surgery focuses on restoring function to parts of the body while cosmetic surgery enhances aesthetics. It is possible for a surgeon to be board certified in both fields.
It is a common misconception that plastic surgeons are cosmetic surgeons, when in fact they need to go through additional training (usually one year of fellowship) in order to qualify as board certified cosmetic surgeons. Maxillofacial surgeons (DDS, MD), opthamalogists, general surgeons, head and neck surgeons, obgyns, and dermatalogists are also qualified to go through additional training in order to become cosmetic surgeons.
It is mentioned in other articles on this topic (Rixta) that cosmetic surgeons “do not care about their patients,” we all realize that is a statement without any merit or basis. More plastic surgeons have lawsuits against them than any of the other mentioned specialties who practice cosmetic surgery. Is it time to require plastic surgeons to go through additional training, like other surgeons, in order to perform cosmetic surgery?
We owe this misconception to many TV shows (Nip/Tuck, Dr. 90210, and shows alike) that portray plastic surgeons as the only surgeons performing cosmetic surgery. In fact, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon is more qualified to perform cosmetic facial surgery without having to go through a cosmetic fellowship than a plastic surgeon, solely due to the nature and FOCUS of surgery during residency, same with head and neck surgeons.
Rixta also calls cosmetic surgery a “sick product of our superficial society.” Cosmetic surgery is performed all over the world, is the whole world becoming superficial? Cosmetic surgery is now more common in the middle east than ever before, countries that are not blindly passed as superficial western societies. Cosmetic surgery is like putting on lipstick, working out, watching movies, all geared to make us feel better, healthier, to give us hope. Aging is inevitable and “old too soon, smart too late” applies to everyone. Cosmetic surgeons are changing the way we think about life. A 50 year old is not considered old anymore, where 40 years ago they were considered old and crippled. As the average life span increases, due to internal health, external health needs to be maintained, only to keep up.