D.O. Vs M.D. - Are They Both Qualified to Do Cosmetic Surgery?

Does a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) have the same qualifications to do cosmetic procedures as a Medical Doctor (M.D.)? Does it matter which board has certified them (such as the AOBOO)? I wish some of the Docs here can explain it in layman's terms.

Doctor Answers 2

Not much difference

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In the old days, D.O.s tended to do less surgery and their training was geared toward manipulation and medical therapies. This has changed over the last 30 years and their training is very similar to MD training.

Today, both MDs and DOs can be accepted into residencies and certified to practice MEDICINE.

Cosmetic surgery is another issue.

Both DOs and MDs should be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and members of the major plastic surgery organizations (ASPS and ASAPS). While membership doesn't guarentee better results it does guarentee a level of training which should improve your chances of a good outcome.

Good luck.

Munster Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

DO and MD: what's the difference? American Board of Plastic Surgery.

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No the qualifications differ and depend on the training programs.

In the United States, medical doctors are licensed at the state level. It is generally a requirement that all individuals requestiing a license meet several criteria including:

  1. Earning a degree of MD or DO from an accredited medical school (128 in the US) or college of osteopathic medicine (28 in the US) with differing qualifications.
  2. Completing at least one year of internship in an accredited program.
  3. Succesful completion of a licensing examination. Separate exams are administered by the United States Medical Licensing Examination (MD) and the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (DO).

Now this is a very simpliflied explanation of licensure. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Therefore, you have to distinguish licensure from board certification. You can be licensed either as a DO or MD. However, you can be board certified in a variety of different specialties. This is an additional process to licensure.

There are approximately 23 "Boards" recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialites (ABMS). Why is this important? Almost anyone, you are I, can establish a Board and make ourselves Board Certified. For example, I could create a board that is called the Board of Absolutely Astounding Aesthetic Surgeons and make myself the supreme leader. Well, it wouldn't be respected and it would only have one member. So the ABMS was created to establish criteria that recognized and oversees Boards.

I know this is complex but let me try to explain in layman's terms. It takes a little time. When you look at an electrical product, many people insist that it have the UL seal of approval or the CE mark. Why? Because, this assures but does not guarantee that the product has met certain baseline criteria evaluating quality as well as testing.

Board certification by an ABMS recognized board does the same. Is that clear? I may have left a few details out but I essentially covered the basics as I know it . I hope this helps

The American Board of Plastic Surgery is currently the only ABMS recognized cosmetic surgery board and it credentials both MD's and DO's.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 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.