Plastic Surgery vs. Cosmetic Surgery: What’s the Difference?

Published: April 4, 2019
Category: Plastic Surgery, General

Many think that cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery are terms that can be used interchangeably, but that is not the case. Although closely related, they are not the same and vary greatly in the education and training behind them.

Plastic surgery is a medical specialty that is certified by the American Board of Medical Specialists. That means, just like other specialties like Orthopedic Surgery, Cardiac Surgery, Vascular Surgery or Neurosurgery, it has a specific residency program that is certified and must be completed for a doctor to call themselves that type of specialist. These specialties also have Board Certification exams. These exams are very rigorous and involve both an oral and written portion of the exam. Both portions must be passed for a physician to say they are board certified in that specialty.

Cosmetic surgery is a part of plastic surgery. Plastic surgeons are extensively trained in cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries. Here at Edina Plastic Surgery some of our surgeries are reconstructive, some are cosmetic, and often, surgeries are a combination of both.

Cosmetic surgery is a specialty itself, but there is no legitimate training to become certified as a cosmetic surgeon. Advertising as a “board certified cosmetic surgeon” is borderline fraud. There are entities that will sell you a certificate in cosmetic surgery, but there really isn’t any training or examination behind it. Essentially it is a moneymaker for these entities and allows doctors to advertise their “board certification” in cosmetic surgery without all the time and effort required for a legitimate specialty. Although there are no laws against this (yet), it can be very dangerous to unsuspecting patients.

At Edina Plastic Surgery, our plastic surgeons are board certified specialists. We have an accredited facility and have successfully completed our residency programs. We continue doing CME’s and recertification exams, which means we are continuously learning and then improving our techniques and practice to provide the best care and optimal outcomes for you.

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