Are Bariatric Surgery and Cosmetic Surgery the Same? Everything to Know

Finding the right surgery for your health needs requires knowing your options. This guide explains if bariatric surgery and cosmetic surgery are the same.

June 22, 2021

4 min read


In 2018, 18 million people had cosmetic procedures done in the United States. However, this does not include the people who received bariatric surgery or other types of weight loss surgery. Are you wondering about the differences between bariatric surgery and cosmetic surgery?

Keep reading to learn about these types of surgery, the options for surgeries, and the main differences between bariatric and cosmetic surgery. 

What is Bariatric Surgery?

Bariatric surgery is also known as weight loss surgery. This is a surgery often done for medical reasons, not for cosmetic reasons. Rather than getting surgery to improve your appearance, bariatric surgery aids in weight loss by limiting your appetite.

Often, bariatric surgery and plastic surgery go hand in hand. As you lose weight, you may find that you have excess skin that is loose and stretched out. As your skin stretches as you gain weight, it loses the ability to bounce back when you lose weight. 

This leaves bariatric surgery patients with flaps of skin that will not go away on their own and that may cause other problems down the line. Many bariatric surgery patients choose to have skin removal surgery, either for their appearance or from necessity. 

What is Cosmetic Surgery? 

Cosmetic surgery is a type of surgery that is done to enhance the appearance of patients. Rather than doing surgery to help patients lose weight, it is done to improve aesthetics, proportion, and more. 

Cosmetic surgery can be done for almost any reason, not just for weight loss!

Common Types of Bariatric Surgery

There are many types of surgery that are used for weight loss. 

Gastric Sleeve

First, there is a gastric sleeve. This surgery removes part of your stomach that is responsible for sending hunger cues. When this is removed, it lessens your appetite and allows you to lose weight. 

In this surgery, the size of your stomach is drastically reduced and is non-reversible. This means that you are also unable to eat as much as you used to. 

Gastric Bypass

Next, there is a procedure called gastric bypass. This type of surgery also makes your stomach smaller and makes it bypass part of your small intestine. 

The end result of this surgery makes you feel more full more quickly which reduces the amount of food you can eat. Because your food doesn’t travel through the small intestine, it prevents your body from absorbing as many calories. 

Because this surgery makes your stomach much smaller, it means that you can’t eat as much food at a time. 

Gastric Banding

Finally, the last type of bariatric surgery is LAP-BAND surgery. One benefit of this surgery is that it is adjustable and also reversible. In this surgery, a band is placed around your stomach, which limits the food that you can eat and allows you to feel more full. 

Each of these surgeries has its own side effects and should not be taken lightly. 

Common Types of Cosmetic Surgery

There are many types of cosmetic surgery that you can have done. Some of the most common options for surgeries include body contouring, skin rejuvenation, and breast enhancement. 

While body contouring isn’t a permanent weight loss solution, it can help you look better! Body contouring includes procedures like liposuctions and tummy tucks. If you use a procedure like liposuction for pudgy areas, it can remove your existing fat. However, it will not keep you from gaining more weight

If you use cosmetic surgery for breast enhancement, this can include anything from breast augmentation to a breast lift and even a breast reduction. 

Finally, skin rejuvenation includes anything that can improve the appearance of your skin! This includes laser resurfacing, Botox, and other filler treatments. 

As you can see, there are many types of cosmetic surgery that can help you enhance your natural beauty. Because they are minimally invasive, it means you can be back on your feet in no time! It also makes it much easier to achieve your desired looks in less time. 

Differences Between Bariatric Surgery and Cosmetic Surgery

The key difference between bariatric surgery and cosmetic or plastic surgery is the reasons for the procedure. As was mentioned previously, bariatric surgery is done primarily for weight loss. On the other hand, cosmetic surgery is done to improve your appearance. 

Another main difference between bariatric surgery and cosmetic surgery is the types of surgery done. As was mentioned above, bariatric surgery is mainly done in your stomach to help reduce your appetite. 

However, cosmetic surgery can be done all over the body! As was mentioned before, the most common types of cosmetic surgery are done to the face, breasts, and extremities. There is also cosmetic surgery that can be done to improve and rejuvenate your skin, like Botox and filler treatments. 

Finally, cosmetic surgery is elective. This means that it isn’t a necessary procedure, but can be done if you choose. While bariatric surgery isn’t always necessary, many doctors recommend it for those with weight-related health problems or extreme obesity. 

Because many types of bariatric surgeries are permanent and non-reversible, it is vital that you consider your options very carefully. 

Find a Reliable Plastic Surgeon Today!

As you can see, there are many key differences between bariatric surgery and cosmetic surgery. However, both can be life-changing and can help you feel more confident about yourself. Are you looking for a reliable plastic surgeon? The Advanced Institute for Plastic Surgery can help!

All of our doctors are board-certified plastic surgeons and are members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Contact us today to learn more about our services and to request a consultation!

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