Many people use the terms “cosmetic surgeon” and “plastic surgeon” interchangeably, but technically there is a difference. Miami plastic surgeon Dr. Ary Krau believes it is important for prospective patients to know the difference, so they can properly evaluate a surgeon’s credentials before making the critical decision to undergo a plastic surgery procedure with that physician.
The Distinguishing Factor
Simply put, a legitimate plastic surgeon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). Being board certified by the ABPS demonstrates that the plastic surgeon has met the rigorous criteria regarding medical and surgical care established by the board.
In contrast, although certain physicians may refer to themselves as cosmetic surgeons, some of them have not have completed the specialized surgical training required to call themselves a board-certified plastic surgeon. For example, a surgeon specializing in obstetrics may offer cosmetic vaginal rejuvenation surgery. However, if he or she is not board-certified by the ABPS, the surgeon may not have undergone the specific plastic surgery training required to perform labiaplasty properly. Likewise, an ophthalmologist may offer cosmetic eyelid surgery, but not be a bona fide board-certified plastic surgeon trained in that specific plastic surgery procedure.
What Does ABPS Certification Entail?
For a surgeon to earn board certification from the ABPS, he or she must satisfy the strict guidelines set forth by the ABPS. This includes completing a minimum of five years of surgical training. Of these five years, two of them must be dedicated to specific training in plastic surgery. A board-certified plastic surgeon must also adhere to an exacting ethical code, as well as to other criteria created by the board.