Difference between cosmetic surgeon and plastic surgeon?

I feel like I need to ask this question. Ive searched EVERYWHERE and no one seems to cover this or talk about this. Everyone just says make sure you choose a board certified plastic surgeon. So what is the difference from a plastic surgeon and cosmetic surgeon? Cosmetic surgery is focused on enhancing the apperance while plastic surgery is focused on reparing defects. Looking at the graph provided it looks like cosmetic surgery/cosmetic surgeon is ideal.

Doctor Answers 1

Difference between cosmetic surgeon and plastic surgeon?

Thank you for the important question. Unfortunately, differentiating the credentials of the variety of  physicians who wish to provide "cosmetic surgery" services, can be very confusing to patients. Also unfortunately, there is no strict regulation set up to protect the consumer by state or national medical regulatory organizations. Therefore, patients must take the responsibility to ask the question: what are you board-certified in?

 The American Board of Plastic Surgery is the only board recognized by the American Board of medical specialties. Confirming that your surgeon is certified by the American Board of plastic surgeon is very important; this will assure you that your surgeon's undergone rigorous training, testing, and continued medical education necessary to become and remain board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. 

Plastic surgeons who are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery are then potential candidates to join the American Society of Plastic Surgery and/or the Aesthetic Society of Plastic Surgery. These societies will have lists of their plastic surgeon members; these lists may be helpful when patients are seeking a board-certified plastic surgeon. in the process of selecting a plastic surgery I also encourage patients to ask to SEE lots of examples of their work AND preferably speak/see patients who have had similar procedures done.

Be very careful with your decision-making. You will find, while doing your due diligence, that there are many different “specialties” who will offer their services to you; again, I strongly recommend you concentrate on surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.  Be very careful with your decision-making. You will find, while doing your due diligence, that there are many different “specialties” who will offer their services to you; again, I strongly recommend you concentrate on surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Again, I cannot overemphasize the importance of careful selection of plastic surgeon when it comes to concerns such as safety, achievement of the desired outcome, and ability to manage complications that may arise (even in the best of hands).  Keep in mind that revisionary surgery may be more costly in many ways.  I hope this, and the attached link, helps. Best wishes.

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.