Plastic vs Cosmetic Surgeon: What’s the difference?

It seems like every year we hear about several cases of cosmetic surgery or aesthetic procedures gone wrong. Recently, a Dallas woman was convicted of murder after she administered injections of industrial-grade silicone to another woman in order to lift and reshape the victim’s buttocks. The injected silicone, which is used for construction and other home repair projects, was not approved for use in plastic surgery or any other medical treatment. Eventually, the silicone made its way to the victim’s lungs causing respiratory failure and death. Procedures like this and many others are performed around the country each year and can lead to poor final results and severe health complications- including death. Dr. Peterson is a board certified plastic surgeon and encourages all patients who are looking for plastic or aesthetic procedures to seek out board-certified physicians to ensure that their procedures are done by a physician with the proper training, credentialing and safety education. 

Dr. Peterson suggests that patients look for plastic surgeons who are recognized by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. The ASPS is the largest plastic surgery specialty organization in the world and is made up of 94 percent of plastic surgeons in the United States. Board certified plastic surgeons are trained in plastic surgery and have completed a residency in this specialty, and have successfully passed a board certification exam. This contrasts with cosmetic surgeons or other kinds of physicians who have just taken a few classes on specific cosmetic procedures before practicing them on patients. Some dentists also seek cosmetic procedure education to offer procedures like Botox and laser skin rejuvenation therapies. When you see the ASPS seal, you know you have found a plastic surgeon who is thoroughly educated about the procedures they practice and the standards of patient safety during the procedure.

Plastic surgeons who are part of the ASPS are also listed on National Board of Medical Specialists. Dr. Peterson suggests that individuals who are looking for a plastic surgeon search potential providers at www.certificationmatters.org. The surgeons found on this site are board certified plastic surgeons. Also, a patient should seek out information about the provider’s specialty, credentialing, education, standards of care, and also find out if they have privileges to perform in hospitals.

Becoming a board certified plastic surgeon isn’t a one-and-done process. Board certified plastic surgery providers must maintain their certifications through continuing education and must take part in case study reporting every three years. They also must sit for a new certification exam every ten years.

Cosmetic surgeons and other individuals providing cosmetic treatments are not required to maintain their certifications in order to keep practicing aesthetic and cosmetic procedures. 

Do you have questions about plastic surgery? Call Dr. Peterson today at 785-234-9000.