Cosmetic VS Plastic Surgery

  • Posted on: Jan 7 2013
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With so much misinformation about Cosmetic surgeons vs. Plastic surgeons, I had to respond. Cosmetic surgeons with fellowship training are better trained in cosmetic surgery. Plastic surgeons would like you to believe that they are the only ones capable of performing cosmetic surgery. This is simply not true.

Many specialties in medicine have training in cosmetic surgery. Dermatologists; ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialists; general surgeons; gynecologic surgeons; oral and maxillofacial specialists and ophthalmologist all receive training in and can perform some cosmetic surgeries.

Cosmetic surgeons who have done a year long cosmetic surgery fellowship, focused solely on cosmetic surgery, are exceptionally well trained. A plastic surgery fellowship or residency is two or three years long and involves reconstructive surgery as well as cosmetic surgery training. Often the emphasis is on reconstructive surgery at the expense of cosmetic surgery experience.

The Plastic and Reconstructive Journal frequently surveys residents graduating from plastic surgery programs. The survey results published in their own plastic surgery journal say many residents feel under prepared to perform cosmetic surgery. Many articles refer to the fact that more cosmetic surgery training is needed.

Our legal system supports cosmetic surgeons right to perform aesthetic surgery. A trial in Georgia between a cosmetic surgeon and two plastic surgeons resulted in a guilty verdict against the plastic surgeons. Punitive damages were awarded. The courts confirmed plastic surgeons are not the only ones with the knowledge and training to perform cosmetic surgery. And to foster that idea is misleading, as well as unlawful.

I saw and performed hundreds of cosmetic surgeries during my yearlong fellowship. My trainer was a plastic surgeon who practiced only cosmetic surgery. He frequently told me I was lucky and had much more training in cosmetic surgery than he had in his residency. Be sure to evaluate your doctor carefully. not everyone who calls himself or herself a cosmetic surgeon has had a cosmetic fellowship.

My final thoughts regarding the debate between cosmetic and plastic surgeons comes down to common sense. There are bad apples in every bunch. Many plastic surgeons are very talented. Many cosmetic surgeons very talented. The opposite is also true. Make sure you are comfortable with your doctor, his training checks out, he has many examples of his work and you trust that person with your care.

If interested in more information, visit the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery’s website (, under the patient information tab click on frequently asked questions (FAQ). Or come meet and lets talk in person. Consults are complimentary. I would love to talk with you.

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