It can be easy to get the terms “plastic surgery” and “cosmetic surgery” mixed up, but in  reality, the two actually have very different meanings. In fact, when it comes to using a cosmetic surgeon vs plastic surgeon for your tummy tuck, breast augmentation or breast lift, it could mean the difference between beautiful results and botched ones.

You see, a plastic surgeon is a board-certified physician, while a cosmetic surgeon does not hold any such designation or required years of specialized training. A cosmetic surgeon may just be a general practitioner who dabbles in cosmetic procedures. However, a true plastic surgeon:

  • Has been designated as a plastic surgeon by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, an independent, nonprofit organization that recognizes only the best in the plastic surgery field
  • Has passed a written exam, which tests their knowledge and abilities as they relate to plastic surgery procedures, surgical techniques, trends and more
  • Has submitted a list of every operative case during a nine-month period (at least 50 cases) that reflects the diversity and complexity of their abilities as a surgeon
  • Has passed an oral exam, during which five of their most recent cases are discussed in detail with examiners of the board
  • Has reapplied every ten years for certification and continues to meet all requirements and designations every time

Meeting the requirements to be board certified in plastic surgery is not easy. This demands an excellent case record, top results on both written and oral exams, a strong code of ethics, and continuing education in the field.

Cosmetic surgeons aren’t held to the rigorous and specialized standards applied to board-certified plastic surgeons. In addition, non-plastic surgeons such as cosmetic surgeons can’t get privileges in hospital operating rooms, and therefore can’t use fully credentialed hospital surgery facilities. All things considered, this is why you will most likely get the best results and the smoothest-sailing surgery by choosing a plastic surgeon instead.

Want to learn more about why using a plastic surgeon vs cosmetic surgeon is important? Schedule a consultation with Dr. Elizabeth Harris today. She can walk you through the differences, as well as discuss what plastic surgery can do for you.