People often think that cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery is the same thing and they use the words interchangeably. But these are two different things and here are the reasons for it.
The goals of each are different
Cosmetic surgery is meant to improve your appearance. But plastic surgery is usually done after an accident, to reconstruct some parts of your body that are damaged. Plastic surgery is actually reconstructive surgery, so it restores your body parts that are affected due to accidents or diseases like cancer or even birth defect. Cosmetic surgery, on the other hand, reshapes parts of the body to make them look good.
The training is different
If you want to be a plastic surgeon, you need to complete 2 years in plastic surgery after your general surgery residency. Cosmetic surgery may be part of the plastic surgery training. On the other hand, you can become a cosmetic surgeon right after completing your residency program. After that, you can take one year of fellowship in cosmetic surgery or few weeks of short training to become a cosmetic surgeon.
In the US, plastic surgeons must be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). This is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). But the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS) is not recognized by the ABMS.
Now as you know the difference between the two, you will not confuse the two terms. You will now be able to choose the right procedure for yourself.