Choosing a surgeon to perform a breast augmentation, liposuction or rhinoplasty (nose job) is a big deal. This person will have not only your beauty in their hands, but also, your life. And you’ll find that when searching for the perfect doctor, the one who is going to make you look and feel your best, there is a lot to consider.
For the laymen, first knowing what your doctor does and specializes in is very important, for instance, what really is the difference between a cosmetic surgeon and a plastic surgeon? One of the most common misconceptions in plastic surgery is the fact that both a plastic surgeon and a cosmetic surgeon are essentially the same. “This is completely wrong,” says Scottsdale, AZ, plastic surgeon Marc Malek, MD.
“The difference is that all plastic surgeons are cosmetic surgeons, but the opposite is not true,” says Beverly Hills, CA, plastic surgeon Ritu Chopra, MD. “To be a plastic surgeon you have to go through a residency program for six to eight years to be eligible to become a board-certified plastic surgeon that is trained in cosmetic as well as reconstructive surgery,” he says. “While Plastic Surgeons and Facial Plastic Surgeons go through years of specialized training and have to take tough exams and meet rigorous criteria. A ‘cosmetic surgeon’ may be simply an internist who learned how to perform eyelid surgery by observation or a seminar,” says Chevy Chase, MD, facial plastic surgeon Shervin Naderi, MD.
So why does it matter if your surgeon is just a cosmetic surgeon and not board-certified? It is critical in the case that something goes wrong. “It is extremely important for doctors to understand the full extent of reconstruction when it comes to cosmetic procedures if any complications are to arise,” states Dr. Malek.
Moral of the story? “The take home message is, if your doctor calls himself or herself a cosmetic surgeon, make sure he or she is actually a Plastic Surgeons, Facial Plastic Surgeons, Maxillo-facial surgeons or Oculoplastic surgeon,” says Dr. Naderi. Then you can take the next steps to have a consultation and see if the doctor is a good fit for you.
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