There is a common misconception throughout our society regarding the difference between plastic surgeons and cosmetic surgeons. Many people erroneously use the terms interchangeably, implying that there is very little difference between the training and background of plastic surgeons and cosmetic surgeons. However, this cannot be farther from the truth.
Plastic surgeons must receive certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery*,
which is the only legitimate plastic surgery board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery is not recognized as legitimate by the ABMS.
Board certification* can only be achieved after performing a 3-6 year general residency followed by at least 2-3 years of training in the field of plastic surgery. After completing this highly specialized training, a rigorous written and oral examination demonstrating mastery of plastic surgery must be passed before board certification* is bestowed on a candidate.
In contrast, cosmetic surgeons do not need to undergo any of this specialized training or successfully complete a rigorous examination to market themselves using this title. Many people who call themselves cosmetic surgeons are actually doctors who specialize in another field of medicine, such as gynecology, ophthalmology, dermatology, family medicine, or oral surgery. Many of these doctors complete minimal training, sometimes through weekend courses, for the cosmetic procedures they perform. While these doctors may be approved to perform the services they are offering, they often do not possess the same level of skill, training, and experience as board certified* plastic surgeons who are performing the identical procedure.
It is important that you understand the difference between these two disciplines when choosing a potential surgeon to perform your desired procedure. Board certification* by the American Board of Plastic Surgery* and membership in the American Society of Plastic Surgeons† (ASPS) are the gold standards in plastic surgery patient care. By choosing a board certified* plastic surgeon who is recognized by the ABMS, you can be confident that you are receiving your care from a surgeon who has undergone the most rigorous training possible and possesses years of experience in the field. This should be the only acceptable choice when considering plastic surgery.
Four of the Atlanta plastic surgeons at Marietta Plastic Surgery have received certification from the American Board of Plastic Surgery*, and each is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons†. Additionally, our doctors have all trained at some of the most elite plastic surgery programs in the country, such as Emory and Vanderbilt. These programs require surgeons to be at the top of their medical school class and at the top of their general surgery residency training program. When you work with our plastic surgeons, you can be confident that you have chosen a doctor who has the skills, training, and experience to deliver beautiful results you deserve.
* = Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery
† = Member of the American Society of Plastic Surgery