Plastic Surgeons vs Cosmetic Surgeons: What to Know Before Choosing a Surgeon

Choosing the right surgeon for your cosmetic procedure is one of the most important decisions you make as a patient. One thing to consider is the difference between a board-certified plastic surgeon and a cosmetic surgeon. While both surgeons offer cosmetic procedures, they are not one and the same.

First, what does it mean to be board certified? Board certification is a rigorous process in which a surgeon has undergone additional training and passed a series of comprehensive exams in their area of specialization. Board certification ensures that the surgeon has the knowledge and skills necessary to perform a particular type of surgery safely and effectively.

A board-certified plastic surgeon is a medical doctor who has completed five to six additional years of training through a plastic surgery residency program. During residency, plastic surgeons receive extensive training in cosmetic and reconstructive procedures, including breast augmentation, liposuction, facelift, and reconstructive surgery for trauma, burns, and congenital anomalies. Before completing their residency, plastic surgeons must fulfill the requirements set by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) and pass a rigorous board certification exam.

 A board-certified cosmetic surgeon is also a medical doctor; however, unlike plastic surgery, there is no formal certification process. Board-certified cosmetic surgeons come from a variety of medical backgrounds, such as dermatology, otolaryngology, or general surgery. They may have completed additional training in cosmetic surgery, but this can vary. While cosmetic surgeons may be able to perform specific cosmetic procedures, their training is typically more limited in scope than that of a plastic surgeon.

Before choosing a surgeon, it is best to research their qualifications to ensure they are board certified. In addition to board certification, patients should consider their surgeon’s reputation and experience performing their procedure of interest. A board-certified plastic surgeon can provide patients with greater peace of mind by knowing their surgeon has received the highest level of training.