Why Choose Board Certified?
To distinguish between a cosmetic surgeon and a plastic surgeon, it is helpful to know the differences between them. Although used interchangeably, the two are very different. Cosmetic surgery is elective. The area where the patient is seeking treatment functions properly but may not be aesthetically pleasing. Plastic surgery, on the other hand, is a reconstruction of the face or body due to disorders, trauma, burns, or disease.
A cosmetic surgeon:
- Does not need to undergo any specialized training.
- Does not need to complete a rigorous examination to be called a “cosmetic surgeon.”
- Most are doctors who specialize in another field of medicine, such as gynecology, ophthalmology, dermatology, family medicine, or oral surgery.
- Completes minimal training, sometimes through weekend courses.
A board-certified plastic surgeon:
- Must receive certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, the only legitimate plastic surgery board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties.
- Board certification can only be achieved by performing a 3 to 6-year residency followed by 2 to 3 years of training.
- Have a total of 10 to 12 years of postgraduate preparation.
- Must pass an extensive written exam followed by an in-person oral examination given by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
The difference between a cosmetic surgeon and a board-certified plastic surgeon can be devastating, depending on the expertise of the cosmetic surgeon. Some can perform a perfect tummy tuck or breast augmentation while others may leave you scarred, deformed, or unhappier than before your procedure.
The most important thing you can do for yourself when choosing a surgeon is your homework. You should be very cautious when choosing a surgeon and always ask for credentials. Credentials include diplomas or certifications documenting the completion of medical school, residency programs, or professional memberships. This documentation should be easy to find in the surgeon’s office or online.
The safest thing to do is find a board-certified plastic surgeon. This person has years of experience and the American Board of Plastic Surgery to speak to his/her skills.
American Board of Plastic Surgery, 1991