Plastic Surgeon vs Cosmetic Surgeon: What's the Difference?

As an expert in the field of plastic surgery, I am often asked about the differences between plastic surgeons and cosmetic surgeons. While many people may think that these two terms are interchangeable, there are actually significant differences between the two. In this article, I will explain the distinctions between plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery, and why it is important to choose a qualified and properly trained professional for any surgical procedure. Firstly, it is important to understand the definitions of plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery. Plastic surgery is a surgical specialty that focuses on reconstructing facial and body defects caused by congenital disorders, trauma, burns, or diseases.

On the other hand, cosmetic surgery is primarily focused on improving a patient's appearance by enhancing symmetry, proportion, and overall aesthetic appeal. One of the main differences between plastic surgeons and cosmetic surgeons is their training and qualifications. Plastic surgeons undergo extensive training in reconstructive plastic surgery, which is their primary focus. They may also choose to complete additional training in cosmetic surgery, but their foundation remains in reconstructive procedures. In contrast, cosmetic surgeons complete a 1-year fellowship exclusively in cosmetic surgery after completing a 3-5 year residency program in a related discipline. It is also important to note that only plastic surgeons who have been certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) can be referred to as plastic surgeons.

This certification is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and demonstrates that the surgeon has met the necessary academic and performance standards to perform safe and effective procedures. Another key difference between plastic surgeons and cosmetic surgeons is the nature of the procedures they perform. Cosmetic procedures are considered elective as they aim to enhance areas of the body that are already functioning properly. On the other hand, plastic surgery is often reconstructive in nature and aims to correct dysfunctional areas of the body. When it comes to choosing a qualified and experienced surgeon, it is important to do your research and ask the right questions. Always confirm that a plastic surgeon has been certified by the ABPS, as this is the only board recognized by the ABMS for plastic surgery.

Additionally, be wary of cosmetic surgeons who refer to themselves as "board-certified" without specifying which board they are certified by. In conclusion, while there may be some overlap between plastic surgeons and cosmetic surgeons, it is important to understand the distinctions between the two. Plastic surgeons are highly trained and qualified professionals who specialize in reconstructive procedures, while cosmetic surgeons focus on enhancing a patient's appearance. By choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon, you can ensure that you are in the hands of a skilled and knowledgeable professional who will provide safe and effective results.

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