Oftentimes, the words “cosmetic surgery” and “reconstructive surgery” are used to describe the same types of plastic surgery. However, these are two very different types of surgery, and it is important to know the difference.
Reconstructive surgery is performed to correct injuries, defects from cancer, or congenital defects that have a difference in the appearance or function. Reconstructive surgery may necessary because of:
Reconstructive surgery is performed to improve function, make a deformity appear more normal, or alleviate health complications associated with an abnormality.
Reconstructive surgery is covered by most health insurance policies, but coverage for specific procedures and levels of coverage vary.
On the other hand, cosmetic surgery is performed to change the appearance of a part of the body that has normal structure and function, in order to enhance it and make it more harmonious with other parts of the body.
Cosmetic surgery is performed solely to improve your appearance by modifying a body part or facial feature with the primary goal of enhancing your self-confidence. Cosmetic surgery is elective, so insurance companies seldom cover it.
However, there are exceptions to the rules. For example, breast augmentation is usually considered cosmetic surgery, unless you are a breast cancer patient and are undergoing breast enhancement surgery to reconstruct your breast; therefore, the breast augmentation is considered reconstructive surgery.