Many people are confused when it comes to distinguishing between a plastic surgeon and a cosmetic surgeon. In reality, these two types of professionals have very different training. So it's critical for prospective patients to understand what each is equipped to do so they can make an informed decision.
Plastic surgery is a highly specialized area of medicine that requires extensive studying, training, and hands-on practice. In addition to the rigorous pre-med and medical school training that all doctors are required to complete in the United States, they must continue their studies for another six to eight years. As part of this comprehensive program, they must complete an approved residency program that focuses on this speciality. At this point, some students decide to focus their studies on a niche within the industry, such as breast reconstruction and augmentation, craniofacial surgery, trauma, or one of a number of other specialty areas. Professionals who have received this high level of training are acknowledged by the American Board of Medical Specialties.
Cosmetic surgery, on the other hand, can be offered by all types of licensed physicians. The American Board of Medical Specialties does not recognize this area of medicine in any way, nor does it regulate the practices offered within this realm. Because of this, many types of medical professionals, from an ophthalmologist to a dermatologist, may offer services that fall in this category.
Patients who are considering having a serious procedure done will want to check the credentials of the plastic surgeon they choose in order to confirm they have the right experience, training, and certifications.