While plastic and cosmetic surgery are often considered to be similar, they’re not interchangeable. Often times, many people use the terms interchangeably because they don’t know there’s a difference. Here we will cover the main plastic and cosmetic surgery difference, so you can know how to use the terms properly.
Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery Difference
The main difference between plastic and cosmetic surgery comes down to the procedures themselves. Cosmetic surgery is done to enhance physical features, such as tummy tucks, breasts, face lifts, etc. Plastic surgery, however, is done to restore/reconstruct facial and body defects. The defects could be a birth defect, or come from an accident or trauma.
Differences in Education
Because of differences in procedures and outcomes of each procedure, plastic surgeons and cosmetic surgeons have different training. Physicians pursuing cosmetic surgery have backgrounds in medicine, a residency and/or fellowship program, usually followed by attaining certification by a board in that specialty, and post-residency training in cosmetic surgery. Physicians with significant experience in cosmetic surgery become board certified to ensure they’re proficient and experienced in cosmetic surgery.
Plastic surgeons go through similar training as cosmetic surgeons. However, one they’ve completed medical school they complete a residency and/or fellowship in plastic surgery before becoming board certified in plastic surgery. At this point, a plastic surgeon may choose to gain experience in cosmetic surgery through lectures, workshops, a fellowship training program or seminars.
Board certification is extremely crucial in determining a surgeon’s qualifications. Certifying boards have varying requirements and measure a physician’s experience and education in different fields. It’s crucial that healthcare professionals, as well as the public, understand the differences in these surgical procedures so that patients can make more informed decisions when choosing a surgeon for a specific procedure.
What Does it Mean to Be Board Certified?
A board certification is one of the many milestones in determining a surgeon’s qualifications. It’s important to ask your surgeon about his/her credentials and study them carefully. In addition to checking the board certification, you may want to go ahead and check any professional society affiliations and call the society or board to establish the requirements for membership.
A fellow of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, for example, has formal training in the fundamentals of cosmetic surgery. Specialty boards require at least four years of residency training in cosmetic and/or plastic surgical procedures and provide a solid base for the doctor’s skills. Many board-certified physicians go ahead to complete the requirements to undergo thorough written and oral testing and scrutiny to become board certified.
Understanding plastic and cosmetic surgery difference is part of the process. Ultimately, patients need to choose their physician based on the procedure they’re having. Find out the physicians training in that area and how often he/she performs the procedure. It’s also crucial to speak to individuals who have received patient care from a physician you’re considering and ask to see the results before making your decision.