200 S. Orange Center Rd. | Orange CT 06477 »

What’s the Difference Between a Cosmetic Surgeon and a Plastic Surgeon?

There are important differences Between a Cosmetic Surgeon and a Plastic Surgeon…

When a patient searches to find a plastic surgeon, one of the most common assumptions they make is that the terms “Cosmetic Surgeon” and “Plastic Surgeon” are interchangeable.

In fact, there are important distinctions between a cosmetic surgeon, a plastic surgeon, and a facial plastic surgeon. Understanding these distinctions can make the difference between achieving optimal results and risking the possibility of revisional surgery.

The reality is that cosmetic surgery is often performed by many physicians, not all of whom are under the guidance of a properly credentialed board. While all surgeons need a state license to practice medicine, they often do not need specialized board-certification to market themselves as a “Cosmetic Surgeon”.

Why Does Board-Certification Matter?

The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reports,

Board-certified members are held to the highest standards as it pertains to skills, knowledge, judgment, safety and ethics in that particular specialty. Over the years, board certified plastic surgeons… have been dedicated to continuously improving plastic surgery techniques through intense research and clinical trials driven towards patient safety and outcomes.

Those who call themselves cosmetic surgeons typically belong to another board and can actually be a specialist in any number of other medical areas which are not certified or acknowledged to perform cosmetic procedures to these high standards. We’ve even seen disturbing examples of people with no medical training calling themselves cosmetic surgeons. Many doctors with surgical residencies are also performing whole body cosmetic procedures learned through non-accredited training.

A high level of surgical expertise is necessary to get the best and safest possible results.

While a non-board-certified surgeon might be able to learn to place a breast implant, would they know how to address complications if they arose? How often do they perform specialized procedures, like lift/augment, tummy tuck, facelift, rhinoplasty or revision of the aforementioned?

Typically, only a surgeon who understands the full extent of reconstruction is equipped to handle any potential problems. Moreover, someone who has narrowed their field of specialty will have a breadth and depth of practical experience on which to draw for optimal patient safety and satisfaction.

How Do I Find the “Right” Board-Certified Surgeon?

When you choose a surgeon, it’s important to ensure their board-certification is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. In the case of our practice, Dr. Restifo is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, while Dr. Mao is board-certified at the American Board of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.

Beyond that, Dr. Mao is also board-certified with the American Board of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery.

In short, our surgeons have the ultra-specialized training and expertise that enable them to achieve the best and safest possible results for patients. In the case of something as life-altering as surgery, patients should expect no less.

On that note, here’s one more word of advice from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery,

…before you go in for plastic surgery, make sure you’re seeing a board-certified plastic surgeon. Anyone can wear a white coat and call themselves a cosmetic surgeon, but not everyone has the training and expertise to give you the safest possible experience.

For More Information, See Dr. Restifo’s Video:

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Posted in: Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon, Uncategorized

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200 S. Orange Center Rd. | Orange, CT 06477
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Fax: 203.907.0503

American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
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