by John Noonan
In my many years in practice, it’s become clear that patients don’t always realize there is a difference between a plastic surgeon and a cosmetic surgeon. The distinction is an important one that could affect a patient’s results.
At our practice in Albany, we have 6 plastic surgeons. This means we have advanced training and education in cosmetic as well as reconstructive surgery techniques. This usually includes years spent in residency or fellowship training specifically in the field of plastic surgery.
A cosmetic surgeon, on the other hand, is merely any doctor who performs a cosmetic procedure. This could be a general practitioner, a pediatrician, or an eye doctor who offers a cosmetic surgery procedure at his or her practice but who has no formal training in the field.
It’s true that some cosmetic surgeons may have years of practical experience that make them capable of reaching successful surgical outcomes, but in general, I advise patients who are searching for a physician to not take that risk. With a plastic surgeon, patients can rest assured the doctor has experience that is specific to their concerns.
To further ensure their results, patients should look for not just a plastic surgeon, but a board-certified plastic surgeon. In addition to the specialized training they received, these physicians have been vetted by The American Board of Plastic Surgery, meaning they have passed rigorous exams and lived up to standards of ethics set by this reputable organization.
To find out whether a surgeon is certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery, patients should use this helpful tool.