The Biggest Misconception in Plastic Surgery; What is a Cosmetic Surgeon?


Do you know the difference between a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and a Cosmetic Surgeon? You may not have realized that there is a difference. This is a very common misconception in plastic surgery right now. It is very important to understand your surgeon's training and credentials before trusting him or her with your beauty and your life. If you are considering having a procedure such as a Mommy Makeover, Breast Augmentation, Tummy Tuck, etc. you have likely been researching surgeons in your area. If you search for Plastic Surgeons in Nashville, TN you will find lots of names come up. Some will say Plastic Surgeon and some will say Cosmetic Surgeon. We have found many patients think these are the same. While it may be a common thought, it is very untrue.

All plastic surgeons are cosmetic surgeons. Plastic surgeons are trained in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery of the face and body (some are facial plastic surgeons only). However, cosmetic surgeons are not necessarily plastic surgeons. Cosmetic surgeons are physicians of any specialty who have taken a course in cosmetic surgery. So why does this matter?

According to the American Board of Plastic Surgery, a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon must have a minimum of five years of residency training in all areas of surgery, including at least two years devoted entirely to plastic surgery before even being eligible to sit for the Board Certification exam. Certification is a voluntary process a surgeon seeks after this training. To become certified, the doctor then must pass comprehensive written and oral exams.

A Cosmetic Surgeon may be an Emergency Medicine physician or OB/GYN who learned breast augmentation or eyelid surgery at a weekend course or seminar. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, physicians who call themselves "cosmetic surgeons" could be trained in any specialty, including a non-surgical specialty, because anyone who has a medical license can legally call him/herself a surgeon even if they have no formal surgical training.

It is extremely important that your surgeon be formally trained in surgery as well as the specialty of plastic and reconstructive surgery especially in the event that complications arise. While some procedures may be simple enough to perform in the best of circumstances, a trained plastic surgeon will be able to handle complications and will ensure your safety and the best possible surgical outcome.
Our hope is that if you are considering surgery, you will take this information into account and make sure that your surgeon is board certified in plastic surgery. It could mean your life!
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Nashville Plastic Surgeon