Understanding the Differences Between a Plastic Surgeon and a Facial Plastic Surgeon

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Just as there are many types of medical surgeons, from brain surgeons to heart surgeons, there are also many different types of aesthetic surgeons. While you may want to lump all plastic surgeons together, it is important to know that there's a big difference between a general plastic surgeon and a facial plastic surgeon. Facial plastic surgeons focus their study, experience, and expertise on the face and neck, something that sets them apart from a typical plastic surgeon.

Facial plastic surgeons may perform any or all of the following procedures, or choose to focus in on a specialty:

  • Nasal surgery: Also known as Rhinoplasty, this type of surgery can reshape and reconstruct cartilage and the bone of the nose.
  • Eyelid surgery: Also known as Blepharoplasty, this type of surgery can remove excess skin, under eye bags, and wrinkles in the eye area.
  • Facelift: Also known as Rhytidectomy, this type of surgery removes excess skin and tightens muscles and skin in the neck, jaw and face.
  • Forehead lift: This type of surgery minimizes forehead lines and wrinkles.
  • Chin augmentation: Also known as Genioplasty or Mentoplasty, this type of surgery augments a small chin or reduces a prominent chin.
  • Ear surgery: Also known as Otoplasty, this type of surgery alters the appearance of the ears, typically by “pinning back” and reshaping the cartilage.
  • Skin resurfacing: This procedure removes the outer layer of skin with a laser (laser skin resurfacing), a liquid (chemical peel), or a spinning brush (dermabrasion) for smoother and less wrinkled skin. Often while also stimulating collagen.
  • Facial reconstruction: If a patient has suffered an accident or disease and needs surgery to restore both the function and appearance of the face, this type of procedure may be required. Facial reconstruction procedures can include scar revision, fracture repair, laceration repair, cleft lip and palate repair, vascular birth mark treatment, or cancer reconstruction.
Before undergoing any cosmetic procedure, it is important to find the right type of surgeon. You should choose a surgeon who is appropriately board certified in the procedure you are seeking and has experience performing the procedure you desire.


Article by
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon