If you’ve always thought cosmetic and reconstructive surgery were basically one in the same, you’re not alone. A significant number of plastic surgeons choose to focus their practice on cosmetic surgery, and as such, the terms are often used interchangeably; however, this is not technically correct. Although these specialties are closely related, they are not the same; and choosing a plastic surgeon, one that you trust from your initial consultation to your decision on treatment, can make a difference in your overall experience and satisfaction with your outcome.
Since the late 1940s, Wake Forest Baptist Health Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery has been a leading teaching facility and hospital for medical professionals interested in receiving training in both reconstructive and cosmetic surgery. Dr. Malcolm Marks, professor and chair of WFBH Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery said, “As a teaching hospital, we are heavily involved in both reconstructive and cosmetic surgery. The public is aware of the cosmetic aspects such as breast augmentation/reduction, rhinoplasty, eyelid lift, facelift and body contouring, but not as much as the reconstructive aspects. The field of plastic surgery is more diverse than most people realize and incorporates areas including congenital defects, cleft lip/palate, craniofacial, hand surgery, wound management, breast reconstruction, trauma, head and neck cancer as well as cosmetic surgery. Because the field is so extensive, people don’t realize that university-based plastic surgeons like those at WFBH are involved in both the management of these complex problems listed and are also interested and experienced in cosmetic surgery.”
While both cosmetic and reconstructive surgery deal with improving a patient’s body, the overarching philosophies guiding the training, research and goals for patient outcomes are different.
Cosmetic Surgery & Reconstructive Surgery: Enhancing Appearance and Correcting Issues
The procedures, techniques and principles of cosmetic surgery are entirely focused on enhancing a patient’s appearance by improving aesthetic appeal, symmetry and proportion. Cosmetic surgery is elective while reconstructive surgery is focused on repairing defects to reconstruct a normal function and appearance. Whether you want to improve on something about your appearance or are in need of correction to restore normal function, the physicians at WFBH Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery can help you achieve your goals.
“For us as a teaching hospital, the young, smart residents who come here to train are always hungry for understanding the latest technologies, and it is our role to prepare them to go out and be the best surgeons they can be,” said Dr. Marks. “Because our students are always reading, listening and researching, we are abreast of the latest and most advanced approaches to help their patients. Over the past decade, less invasive treatments and techniques have become very popular because of both the results, and also, the limited time needed to recover. With the busy schedules we all have today, products like fillers, injectables, chemical peels and laser treatments can give patients the results they are seeking with less down time. By consulting with a physician from the moment you start considering any type of enhancement, you and your physician can work together on helping you achieve the goals you want. When dealing with any procedure or treatment, it’s important to have realistic expectations, and our physicians can work with patients from the early stages of using fillers to any surgery needed in the future.”
To better help patients understand cosmetic surgeries, Dr. Marks, along with Dr. Christopher A. Park, have written, “Beauty by Design: The Artistry of Plastic Surgery.” “Dr. Park, a former resident here at WFBH and I have published our book which explains step by step how to choose a plastic surgeon, the procedure you are considering, the possible outcomes and what can be expected post surgery,” said Dr. Marks. “It is easy to read, giving a clear understanding of every aspect of any cosmetic surgery. From the viewpoint of a patient, you should know everything you can before making a decision for any cosmetic or reconstructive procedure, and from a physician’s perspective, it’s important to have an educated patient to ensure a good outcome.”
To schedule a consultation with Wake Forest plastic surgeons, contact WFBH Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at 336.713.0255. Offices are located at 1450 Professional Park Drive, Suite 300 in Winston-Salem. For more information, visit www.WakeHealth.edu/plastic.