Craniofacial Surgeons vs. Plastic Surgeon

Craniofacial Surgeons vs. Plastic Surgeon


Unlike other medical procedures (like hip or knee surgery), plastic surgery can be one of the most misunderstood surgical procedures in the healthcare industry. While it is true that many people undergo plastic surgery for purely cosmetic and aesthetic reasons, popular culture and general misconceptions tend to use the terms plastic and cosmetic surgery interchangeably. There are a variety of sub-specialties that revolve around cosmetic, plastic, and reconstructive surgery. All of them focus on a specific outcome for the patient, but can often be integrated with each other to provide the best outcome for the patient. 

The procedures, techniques, and principles of cosmetic surgery are entirely focused on enhancing a patient’s appearance, while plastic surgery is often dedicated to reconstruction of facial and body defects due to birth disorders, trauma, burns, and disease.

 Improving aesthetic appeal, symmetry, and proportion are the key goals for cosmetic surgery, while plastic surgery is reconstructive in nature, intended to correct dysfunctional areas of the body. In other words, plastic surgery is a specialty of medicine that focuses on the correction of form and function and includes both reconstructive and cosmetic surgery. Cosmetic surgery can be performed on all areas of the head, neck, and body. Cosmetic surgery and cosmetic procedures are elective, practiced by doctors from a variety of medical fields, including plastic surgeons.

As noted, not all plastic surgery is for cosmetic or aesthetic reasons alone. In some cases, severe head trauma or birth defects need the expert hands of a trained craniofacial surgeon. There is a difference between general plastic surgery and craniofacial surgery, but the end goal for both is to provide the best possible form, function, and appearance to a patient suffering from some form of trauma/injury, birth defect, or deformity.

Craniofacial Surgery:

There are a variety of conditions that affect the face and skull. Craniofacial surgery (Surgery of the face and skull), is a subspecialty of plastic and reconstructive surgery, concerned with correcting people who have malformations of the skull and face. Surgery of the face and skull is a highly specialized branch of plastic surgery that focuses on the complex reconstruction of the jawbone, orbits (eye sockets), skull, and soft tissue of the face. A craniofacial surgeon also treats complex soft tissue problems such as hemangiomas (blood birthmark), vascular malformations, facial tumors, Bell's palsy, and severe facial scarring.

A career in craniofacial surgery gives surgeons the opportunity to improve the lives of patients, as many skull deformities are corrected when individuals are children or adolescents. These surgeons are dedicated to restoring facial form and function using surgical techniques. 

Plastic Surgery: Plastic surgery is dedicated to reconstruction of facial and body defects due to birth disorders, trauma, burns, and disease. Plastic surgery is intended to correct dysfunctional areas of the body and is reconstructive in nature. While many plastic surgeons choose to complete additional training and perform cosmetic surgery as well, the basis of their surgical training remains reconstructive in nature.

Plastic Surgery Procedures include:

  • Breast Reconstruction
  • Burn Repair Surgery
  • Congenital Defect Repair: Cleft Palate, Extremity Defect Repair
  • Lower Extremity Reconstruction
  • Hand Surgery
  • Scar Revision Surgery

Does your child have a facial or skull malformation, or need reconstructive surgery? Turn to the cranio-maxillofacial and plastic surgery experts at the Atlantic Center of Aesthetic & Reconstructive Surgery. We are specialized in treating children, as well as adults. Request an appointment online or call one of our convenient locations in South Florida at (954) 983-1899 today.