×

Blog

Plastic V. Cosmetic Surgeons: The Difference?

Cosmetic Surgeons? Plastic Surgeons?

While many people think plastic and cosmetic surgeons do the same thing — make you look better – an article about consumer concepts in the current issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the medical journal for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS,) reveals the general public is often confused about which surgeons do what. (More about the ASPS article later.)

Plastic Surgeons and Cosmetic Surgeons are not in the same medical specialty and should not be used interchangeably. Here’s one HUGE reason why:

Plastic Surgeons need at least six years of residency training to be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Cosmetic Surgeons only need one year of residency training to be certified by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery.

So, who does what? Plastic surgeons are specialists in surgery on any body part that changes form or function. Thus, plastic surgeons handle procedures like:

  • Skin grafting after burn injuries
  • Using natural tissue to cover bed sores
  • Repairing birth deformities like cleft lip and palate

Cosmetic Surgeon tasks include surpassing natural appearances and reversing the signs of normal aging. So, not surprisingly, these surgeons:

  • Perform face lifts
  • Remove wrinkles
  • Correct oddly-shaped noses to create a better facial profile
  • Augment smaller breasts

          (See Some Face & Neck Lift Before And After Pictures.)

Basic take-home message? Cosmetic surgery is a lesser branch of plastic surgery, but not all plastic surgery is based on cosmetics.

          (How To Find A Qualified Cosmetic Surgeon.)

The Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery magazine asked 5,135 randomly selected people about the qualifications and requirements for performing cosmetic — or aesthetic – surgery.

Eighty-seven percent had the mistaken impression that cosmetic surgeons needed special credentials and training to do cosmetic surgery and advertise themselves as cosmetic surgeons.

Over half of the respondents weren’t sure about the required training for plastic or cosmetic surgeons. Or which — American Board of Plastic Surgery or the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery is a bona fide board. (The latter is not recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialities.)

So how do consumers know which cosmetic surgeon (also known as cosmetic plastic surgeon) to go with? One way is to seek out cosmetic surgeons who have Fellowship training.

           (Read More About Cosmetic Surgery Fellowships)