Facial Plastic Surgeons Best for Facial Surgery?

I want to get facial plastic surgery (mini-facelift, bleph, botox).  Should i look at only facial plastic surgeons, or do general plastic surgeons have equal training and credentials?

**Note from RealSelf**  Our site is designed to help consumers make confident choices and the below answers have lost this spirit.

To see the criteria RealSelf uses to list a doctor as a Facial Plastic Surgeon, please visit our Professional Policies.  Doctors listed as a 'Facial Plastic Surgeon' on RealSelf are eligible to discuss treatments and procedures for any "neck-up" procedures, including those of the face, ear, nose and throat areas.  As always, consumers should do their due-diligence in researching an individual doctors experience and credentials when choosing their surgeon.

Doctor Answers (6)

Facial Plastic Surgeons are Just That: Facial Plastic Surgeons

+4

A Facial Plastic Surgeon is a Surgeon originally trained in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and who has later usually completed a fellowship in Facial Plastic Surgery; those entering Facial Plastic Surgery fellowships are generally well published and the "creme de la creme" of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery residents.  Those entering Facial Plastic Surgery have a heavy representation of Alpha Omega Alpha graduates (top 10% of their respective Medical School classes).  My personal post-graduate training was a total of 7 years.

The anatomy of the face and neck is by far the most complex in the body and requires meticulous skill and surgical technique to provide excellent results without distortions or injury. Oto-Head and Neck Surgery residencies have a significant involvement in performing and assisting Facial Cosmetic and Reconstructive Surgical cases; Facial Plastic Surgical fellowships are obviously exclusively devoted to Facial Plastic Surgery.

The ability and skill of Facial Plastic Surgeons to advertise for or perform Facial Plastic Surgery is certainly well recognized by both the AMA and by State Medical Boards throughout the country.  Facial Plastic Surgeons hold a seat on the AMA Board of delegates and are considered ABMS board equivalent in Florida and throughout the United States. Facial Plastic Surgeons are the only specialty that devote their training and experience exclusively to facial surgery.

The turf battles between Facial Plastic Surgeons and Plastic Surgeons are decades old and obviously each tribe has their own preference as to who has better training.  That is for the public to decide.  There is, however, no doubt to the American Cosmetic Surgical Consumer that specialization is preferable when considering Facial Plastic Surgery.  Specialists in Facial Plastic Surgery can include Facial Plastic Surgeons and General Plastic Surgeons.

My advice to patients:  seek a Surgeon who impresses you more with their results and demeanor than overwhelms you with negative statements about other surgical specialties.  In my experience, the greatest Surgeons I have met have the requisite skill and ability combined with an appropriate amount of humility.  This has included members of both specialties.


Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Trust Your Face to a Specialist

+3

Hello Wendy,

Your question is a very good one and the answers you receive may invariably depend on who is answering it.

As a board certified Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, my personal and professional bias is that a patient should always seek consultation with a Facial Plastic Surgeon when considering the procedures you mentioned. I feel this way because Facial Plastic surgeons have chosen a very specific and intensive training and practice that is highly focused on the face, head and neck areas. Day to day ALL we do are Facial procedures and ALL of our training and experience over the years is dedicated to the anatomy above the neck. We do not do breast implants, body liposuction, hand surgery, etc for a reason - we made a choice early on to be highly specialized in surgery and non-invasive procedures of the Face. The American Academy and Board of Facial Plastic Surgery are highly respected and well established National bodies that oversee the continued development of our specialty and continually strive to maintain and instill a dedication to surgical excellence, ethical care and patient well being among their members and diplomats. www.abfprs.org www.aafprs.org

General plastic Surgeons also receive excellent training but their focus is on all areas of plastic surgery and they do not in most cases receive as highly focused or diverse an experience as Facial plastic surgeons do.

Regardless you need to pick a Surgeon carefully:
1. Look for Board Certification
2. Ask what experience they have and how many of the procedures you are interested in they have done
3. Ask to speak with former patients who are at least 6 months out from their procedure
4. Ask lots of questions during and after your consultation
5. Ask about all of your options and which ones they can offer you and why they think that is what is best for you

Good Luck to you, do your research on any Surgeon you meet with and in my humble opinion: "Trust your Face to Specialist" - a Facial plastic Surgeon!

Kamran Jafri, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Don't worry about terminology

+2

Don't get too worried about terminology but here are the facts:

1) ENT surgeons spend 5 years of training ONLY on the face and neck.  a quarter of that training is dedicated to cosmetic and reconstructive surgery of the face and neck

2) Facial Plastic surgeons are usually ENT surgeons who went above and beyond and did one more year of training ONLY on the face and neck.  That is 6 years EXCLUSIVELY on the face and neck.

3) Plastic surgeons are either general surgeons who spent 5 years operating inside the abdomen taking out gall bladders and fixing hernias then they spent 2 more years learning plastic surgery of THE ENTIRE body from head to toe.  Or they did a combined program where they did 3 years of general surgery then 3 years of plastic surgery of the entire body.  That includes burn, hands, free flaps, body surgery and face surgery.  

All 3 of these specialists are "certified" by the ABMS to perform plastic surgery of the face and neck but only the plastic surgeons (#3) are certified to perform body plastic surgery.

These are the facts no matter what anyone else tries to say.  Day is day and night is night.  Be careful and do your homework because there are some GREAT surgeons and some horrible surgeons in all three of the above specialties.  

see the link below

Shervin Naderi, MD, FACS
Washington DC Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

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Plastic surgeon

+1

Certain specialists will give you the impression that they were first plastic surgeons and then subspecialized in plastic surgery of the face (facial plastic), eye (oculoplastic), etc.

This is not the case.

Facial plastic surgeons are ENT surgeons. Some have taken an additional year training in facial plastic surgery, some have not.

Oculoplastic surgeons are opthalmologists. Some have taken additional training in oculoplastic surgery, some have not.

Dermatologic surgeons are dermatologists.

Cosmetic surgeons is a basket term for anybody who wants to call themself a cosmetic surgeon. They typically have no plastic surgery training.

Plastic surgeons are the only surgeons who have trained in a plastic surgery residency.

Some plastic surgeons become double board certified. Some take an additional year with a formal Aesthetic Fellowship. In my case, with Surgery, Plastic Surgery, Plastic surgery research and an Aesthetic Fellowship that was 10 years of surgical residency after medical school. I had performed over 2000 surgeries as surgeon before ever entering medical practice.

I would love to have cut my training short by 5 years and call myself a superspecialist uniquely qualified to understand the anatomy of a certain area, but that wouldn't be honest, would it?

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 100 reviews

Facial Plastic Surgeons vs. Plastic Surgeons

+1

As a board certified plastic surgeon, it continues to astonish me on how different specialties continue to use gimmicks and marketing tricks to confuse patients regarding their true qualifications. 

Board Certified Plastic Surgeons complete 2-3 years of Plastic Surgery training. Many like I go on to complete another year of training in Aesthetic / Cosmetic surgery. They are capable of performing cosmetic surgery on both the face and body.

Like my other colleagues have mentioned, the other physicians that claim to be plastic surgeons that are specialized were actually other types of doctors and then complete only ONE year or NO training and then claim to be plastic surgeons.

Facial plastic surgeons are ENT (ear, nose, and throat) surgeons that complete 1 year of training in cosmetic surgery. They claim to specialize and perform only facial cosmetic surgery, but the reality is that is all they can perform. Facial plastic surgeons are NOT "Board Certified Plastic Surgeons."

Oculoplastic surgeons are Opthalmologists that complete 1 year of training in cosmetic surgery.

Cosmetic Surgeons are usually either dermatologists or family practice doctors that have had NO surgical training let alone cosmetic surgery training.

The following Boards are NOT member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties:

1. Board of Facial Plastic Surgery.   2. Board of Cosmetic Surgery.   3. Board of Oculoplastic Surgery

The ONLY Member Board is the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

Ankit Desai, MD
Jacksonville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Check this site to understand the differences

+1

Many questions have been asked on this site regarding the differences. Please search these for extensive answers to your question from multiple doctors.

A surgeon who is American Board of Plastic Surgery certified has the credentials and training to operate on your face and your entire body from childhood to adulthood. Reconstructive procedures and cosmetic procedures are all taught to surgeons with ABPS certification.

A Facial Plastic Surgeon is typically Board Certified in Ear Nose and Throat Surgery and has an interest in cosmetic surgery of the face. They are not "Board Certified Plastic Surgeons."

There are excellent members of each group so you should meet with some in each camp and decide which you prefer. The difference is probably more important when it comes to surgery as most of the major advances in facial aesthetic surgery have come from Board Certified Plastic Surgeons.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.