The Crucial Difference between a Plastic Surgeon and a Cosmetic Surgeon

December 13, 2012
The Crucial Difference between a Plastic Surgeon and a Cosmetic Surgeon

Most people are unaware of the critical difference between a plastic surgeon and a cosmeticsurgeon. Generally speaking, plastic surgeons must undergo more extensive training and education, and must specialize in plastic surgery. Cosmetic surgeons, by contrast, may come from any specialty and are not necessarily certified by a recognized medical board.

  • Doctors referred to as plastic surgeons have actually specialized in the field ofplastic surgery, which is an officially recognized medical specialty that deals with the repair and reconstruction of parts of the body.
  • A doctor who specializes in nearly anything can call him- or herself a cosmetic surgeon and perform many surgical procedures, such as mini-facelifts.

Only real plastic surgeons can be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, which is a branch of the American Board of Medical Specialties. A cosmetic surgeon may be board-certified in another specialty, but not in plastic surgery.

Although “cosmetic” surgeons can produce satisfying results, the likelihood of a great surgical outcome for a patient is much higher in the hands of a surgeon who has spent his or her entire medical career training in plastic surgery.

For a full explanation of what to look for when selecting a plastic surgeon, see this article by Dr. Nichter entitled Picking the Best Plastic Surgeon: Finding Dr. Right.

Both Dr. Larry Nichter and Dr. Jed Horowitz are board-certified plastic surgeons. They are also members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery(ASAPS), the most selective plastic surgery societies in the United States.

See the link below for a recent news report which highlights the risks that patients may be taking when they select a doctor who is not qualified to perform cosmetic procedures.