Can a Nurse or PA Do Plastic Surgery Procedures?

Like, I would like to know the legality of this. Like, what if the doctor supervises it, and it is his practice? I know they can do injections, but what about the actual surgery?

Doctor Answers 4

"Scope of Practise" of Nurses and Physician Assistants

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Your question about the legality of undertrained individuals performing plastic surgery is a good one.     No, nurses and physician assistants may not perform major surgical procedures independently.  They often assist a plastic surgeon to make the procedure go more efficiently but they are not licensed as surgeons.  Thie "scope of practise" refers to the skills they have been certified to have by virtue of their schooling, testing and continuing education.  A bigger problem is physicians who are not trained or certified by the American board of Plastic Surgery.  Many of these people call themselves plastic surgeons but are actually working outside the scope of their practise.  Verify your PS' credentials with the American Board of Medical Specialties.

Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 117 reviews


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PA's and some nurse can first assist with surgery but can not be performing surgical procedures by themselves.  They can do some injections by themselves but have to be under the supervision of the doctor. 

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Nurses and PA's in the surgeons's office

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Small procedures can be performed by nurses, nurse practitioners, and physican assistants under the supervision of a surgeon.  These procedures are limited to injections, minor excisions, and some light based or laser based procedures.  A true "operation" involving anything more than a simple mole removal is performed by a surgeon.

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Plastic surgery should be done by the plastic surgeon

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Hey Luke thank you for the questions. In my practice I do all the procedures myself that said many practices have RN's and PA's doing minimally invasive procedures. What is allowed depends on the state regulations and laws. Regarding surgery the surgery should be done by the plastic surgeon himself and assistance maybe provided by some one such as a PA that has been trained to assist in the surgery. Hope that helps !


Good luck

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