Many people use the terms "plastic surgery" and "cosmetic surgery" interchangeably. But when it comes to doctor training programs, there are some important differences between plastic and cosmetic surgery training. As you research the right surgeon for you, keep these things in mind:
Specialty training for a cosmetic surgeon is typically 3-5 years, and focused on specific cosmetic procedures like liposuction and breast implants. By contrast, plastic surgery training takes an additional 5-8 years following medical school. Plastic surgeons learn all the same things cosmetic surgeons do, but also learn about additional procedures, including reconstruction.
So how can you know if the doctor you're researching is a cosmetic or plastic surgeon? Check his or her board certification. When a doctor is Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, that means, in addition to receiving their undergraduate medical degrees, doctors have completed a residency in general surgery and an approved residency in plastic surgery, passed a rigorous written and oral board examination, and practiced plastic surgery and reconstructive surgery for a minimum of four years.
Before you entrust your physical transformation to a physician, take time to make sure he or she has the right training and credentials for the job.