Cosmetic surgery refers to a surgical procedure undertaken to reshape and change the appearance of a body part. It may change the structure, position, colour or texture of a body part or feature and is initiated by an individual who is unsatisfied with their appearance, rather than by a doctor who thinks the surgery will improve the individual’s health. There are also many other treatments undertaken for cosmetic purposes which do not involve surgery, but change the structure of body tissues. These are known as non-surgical cosmetic treatments.

Unlike the other major type of plastic surgery (reconstructive surgery), cosmetic surgery is undertaken for aesthetic rather than health reasons. It involves operating on healthy body parts, to change their appearance with the aim of improving an individual’s self-esteem and satisfaction with their appearance. While some procedures may also increase bodily function or reduce ill effects such as pain, cosmetic surgery procedures have the primary aim of improving appearance.