Plastic or Cosmetic Surgeon FAQ

Plastic Surgeons versus Cosmetic Surgeons

Unlike Cosmetic Surgery, Plastic Surgery deals with the repair, reconstruction or replacement of physical defects of form. Such defects are typically a result of cancer surgery, trauma and disease processes. Cosmetic Surgery deals with tissue arrangements by enhancement toward an aesthetic goal.

When considering Cosmetic Surgery, people are almost universally unaware that there is a difference between “Cosmetic” Surgery and “Plastic Surgery.” For this reason, they maybe easily misled to believe board certification in Plastic Surgery evidences a physician’s competence to perform Cosmetic Surgery. While board certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery may evidence a physician competent in “Plastic Surgery,” it does not necessarily evidence competency in “Cosmetic Surgery” nor does it demonstrate more “Cosmetic Surgery” education, training or experience than that of a board-certified surgical specialist with post residency training in cosmetic procedures. A recent article published in the Plastic surgery journals reported that 51% of Plastic Surgery residents felt that they did not receive sufficient training in Cosmetic Surgery procedures during their Plastic Surgery residency.

The Cosmetic Surgery field is rapidly changing. Most non-invasive rejuvenation procedures have only been around for the last seven years. If your Plastic Surgeon completed their Plastic Surgery residency more than seven years ago–chances are they learned the cosmetic procedure techniques just like other providers at a post residency training course.

Cosmetic Surgery is..

Cosmetic Surgery is a subspecialty that uniquely restricts itself to the enhancement of appearance through surgical and medical techniques. It is specifically concerned with maintaining normal appearance, restoring it, or enhancing it toward some aesthetic goal. Cosmetic Surgery is a multi-disciplinary and comprehensive approach directed to all areas of the head, neck and body.

Cosmetic Surgery is practiced by surgeons from a variety of disciplines including board-certified dermatologists, general surgeons, oral and maxillofacial surgeons, ophthalmologists, otolaryngologists, plastic surgeons and physicians from other fields. Unlike the American Board of Plastic Surgery, the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery is not part of the American Board of Medical Specialties. All of these disciplines have contributed to the vital growth of Cosmetic Surgery and it‘s current practice.

Choosing a cosmetic surgeon

Choose your Cosmetic Surgeon as you would choose any other Healthcare provider. Consistently, it is the American Medical Association’s policy that individual character, training, competence, experience and judgment be the criteria for granting privileges and that physicians representing several specialties can and should be permitted to perform the same procedures if they meet the criteria.

Surgeons develop their cosmetic surgical skills through post residency training and experience. The point is that a cosmetic surgeon’s skill and ability will depend on the surgeon’s Cosmetic Surgery training and experience, not on core board-certification. As for how you should choose a cosmetic surgeon or cosmetic surgical center— you should do the research locally and online.

You can perform a standard internet search with the name of the doctor or the procedure that you would like to receive more information. What do you see online? Negative or positive feedback or reviews. Ask those in the waiting room or others that you know if they have any feedback. If you are visiting a surgical center, where multiple doctors work, be sure to get the name of THE surgeon who will be performing your procedure. Make sure that your surgeon has a good reputation, a strong background in the surgical field, and above ALL–that they produce good results. Training is important; but skill, judgment and artistic detail are evidenced by experience.

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