Where's The "Plastic" In Plastic Surgery?
Learn why it is important to understand the difference between plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery, especially when it comes to paying.
Don't be looking for the Dupont Company sales rep the next
time you visit a Plastic Surgeon's office because, despite
popular belief, there's no "Plastic" in Plastic Surgery. The
name is taken from the Greek word "plastikos" which means to
"mold or shape."
Initially plastic surgery procedures were limited to facial
and body reconstruction caused by accidents, trauma, illness
or birth defects. As people began to see the purely cosmetic
possibilities, many surgeons expanded their services to
include facelifts, rhinoplasty (nose jobs), breast
augmentation and liposuction.
It's important to know the difference between plastic
surgery and cosmetic surgery, especially if you're planning
on having your insurance company foot the bill for your
Cosmetic surgery is performed solely to improve a person's
outward physical appearance and self-esteem by correcting
naturally occuring conditions that the patient is unhappy
with. Cosmetic surgery may be performed by either a Plastic
Surgeon or a Cosmetic Surgeon. Cosmetic surgery is generally
not covered by health insurance.
Reconstructive plastic surgery is performed to correct or
reduce the effects of congenital defects, accidental trauma
injury, infections, tumors, and other health-related
conditions. It's primary purpose is rarely to simply improve
appearance except for extreme cases involving major facial
or bodily damage resulting from automobile accidents, etc.
Plastic Surgery may only be performed by a Plastic Surgeon.
In most cases insurance does pay for plastic surgery
although there are some cases where your claim may be
reduced or denied completely. That's why it is always
important to coordinate the planned procedure with your
health insurance provider BEFORE you get the procedure.
Often times the difference between whether or not your
insurance company will cover the bill is the REASON for the
procedure. If, for example, you are having your nose
reshaped because you're unhappy with your profile -- no
deal. You're on your own. However, get that same nose job
because your doctor has diagnosed a chronic breathing
problem that results in the potentially dangerous condition
known as "Sleep Apnea" and you could end up with a new nose
courtesy of your health insurance provider!
If you are planning to visit a Plastic Surgeon, keep the
following items in mind:
Your plastic surgeon should be "Board Certified" by the
American Board of Plastic Surgery;
If your doctor will be using anesthesia then make sure that
only a licensed Anesthesiologist administers the medicine
and make sure that the facility where the procedure is being
performed is accredited by at least one of the following
American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery
Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC)
Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare
Although making sure that all of these certifications are
present is no guarantee of a trouble-free experience, NOT
having these certifications means that both the doctor
performing plastic surgery, as well as the people who run
the facility, have a serious lack of regard for your health
and well being! You should NEVER use an uncertified plastic
surgeon or facility. The risk is simply not worth it.