How do you choose a surgeon?


All practicing physicians have the same basic training: a four year undergraduate degree (BS or BA), four years of medical school (MD), and at least one year of residency (sometimes called internship). Then it changes. In the following years either a medical or surgical path is taken. Thus, dermatologists are not considered surgeons since their medical residency does not include surgical training in invasive procedures.

Two closely aligned surgical specialties are facial plastic surgery and general plastic surgery. Both types of surgeons complete the same undergraduate and medical school degrees, followed by a general surgery internship. General surgery involves the most common of surgical procedures: hernia repairs, appendectomies, gallbladder removals, etc. The internship serves to acquaint the young physician with the basics of surgical technique, but neither the facial plastic nor general plastic surgeon will continue perform those surgeries once in practice.

For instance, Dr. Szachowicz's final five years of training focused exclusively on the anatomy, physiology, and pathology of the face, head, and neck structures. This in-depth concentration provides the facial plastic surgeon with a strong background in the exact area you want to have your surgery. And, in fact, these surgeons perform the majority of elective facial plastic surgery procedures in the United States.

  • 1-2 years of general surgery (internship)

  • 4 years studying surgeries of the head and neck (an otolaryngology residency)

  • 1 year of facial plastic surgery (fellowship)


By way of contrast, a plastic surgeon completes three to five years of general surgery before pursuing only two years of specialty training. The two year plastic surgery residency covers a wide range of diverse areas all over the body. The lion's share of cosmetic body liposuction, breast augmentation or reduction, and tummy tucks (absdominoplasties) are performed by this kind of surgeon

  • 3-5 years general surgery (internship/first residency)

  • 2 years of plastic surgery (second residency)
Article by
Minneapolis Facial Plastic Surgeon