What is plastic surgery?

Plastic surgery is the collective name for cosmetic surgery and reconstructive surgery.

Cosmetic surgery

Cosmetic surgery is performed with the purpose of reshaping the body's normal structure, with the intention of improving the patient's appearance and self esteem. Cosmetic surgery is not normally covered by the NHS, as this form of surgery by nature is self chosen.

Reconstructive surgery

Reconstructive surgery is carried out on the body's abnormal structure, which is caused by an inborn defect, trauma, infection, tumour, or disease. Reconstructive surgery is generally performed in order to improve a bodily function, but also to create a relatively normal appearance. In some cases, such procedures are covered by the NHS.


If you have a referral for a plastic surgeon from your GP, you can choose to have the surgery at any public or private clinic that live up to NHS requirements. The cost of the surgery will be paid by the NHS.


Read more about what to expect from a cosmetic operation, here!