Medical News Today has this week published an article that defines the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures, which is something that is of interest to laypeople and consumers. In addition, it defines the differences between plastic and cosmetic surgery in a concise manner: What Is Cosmetic Surgery? What Is Plastic Surgery?:
Plastic surgery has two branches, cosmetic surgery and reconstructive plastic surgery. Cosmetic surgery is concerned with improving the aesthetic appearance of a person, while plastic surgery may include this, or just the reconstruction (reconstructive surgery). Reconstructive plastic surgery is concerned with improving function; however, it may also involve trying to approximate normal appearance, but that is not its primary function. Reconstructive plastic surgery is often referred as simply reconstructive surgery.
Some parts of the world completely separate cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery and term cosmetic surgery as elective surgery, non-essential surgery, surgery which the patient chooses to have; while plastic surgery is understood to mean surgery to reconstruct or improve appearance after injury or illness.