Cosmetic surgery is a sub-specialty that uniquely restricts itself to the enhancement of appearance through surgical and medical techniques. It is specifically concerned with maintaining normal appearance, restoring it, or enhancing it toward some aesthetic ideal for all areas of the body. Cosmetic surgery involves a multidisciplinary and comprehensive approach from a variety of disciplines including board-certified dermatologists, general surgeons, maxillofacial surgeons, ophthalmologists, ENT’s, plastic surgeons and physicians from other fields. All of these disciplines have contributed to the vital growth of cosmetic surgery.
Choosing a surgeon for cosmetic procedures
Choosing a doctor for any healthcare need is an important decision. Patients should choose a healthcare provider based on his or her training, education, experience and demonstrated practice history. It is the American Medical Association’s policy that individual character, training, experience and judgment are the criteria for granting privileges for surgical procedures, and that physicians representing several specialties can and should be permitted to perform the same procedures if they meet criteria for the specific procedure.
With an expanding number of consumers anxious to undergo cosmetic surgery, it is imperative that consumers have access to accurate information, the freedom to choose among physicians and that the number of qualified providers is not artificially restricted. Unfortunately, the vast majority of consumers view cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery as one and the same. Consumers’ misapprehension in this regard has them relying on incomplete and false information when choosing a physician to perform cosmetic surgery procedures.
Plastic Surgery is not Cosmetic Surgery
When considering cosmetic surgery, people are almost universally unaware of the difference between cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery. For this reason, they are easily misled to believe that board certification in plastic surgery evidences a physician’s competence to perform cosmetic surgery. It does not.
A recent national cosmetic surgery training survey sent to the 89 active US plastic surgery programs in regard to resident preparedness in aesthetics was quite revealing. The information published in the Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery revealed significant differences in opinions between program directors and finishing senior plastic surgery residents. Although 51 percent of residents felt prepared to integrate cosmetic surgery into their practices upon graduation, 36 percent felt further cosmetic training was desirable after completion of plastic surgery residency. Confidence levels were specifically low in rhinoplasty, face lifts, endoscopic procedures and body contouring techniques. Experience with skin resurfacing, facial fillers and botulinum toxin type A were listed as other areas of concern.
On a positive note, breast augmentation, breast reduction and abdominoplasty were most frequently performed by plastic surgery residents during training with the highest resident comfort levels. On the basis of these results, Dr. Colin Morrison, et al suggested changes in cosmetic surgery training during plastic surgery residency.
As there are very few dedicated Cosmetic Surgery Fellowships, cosmetic surgery is primarily learned during post residency through ongoing continuing education, training and experience. The most recent advances in cosmetic surgery have appeared in the last seven years- Botox, facial fillers, advanced laser skin resurfacing and body contouring. If your surgeon completed residency more than seven years ago and offers advanced cosmetic surgery procedures, he or she learned these techniques at post graduate training courses offered to physician and surgeons of all specialties.
Ultimately the decision is yours..so only can make the the right choice for your surgical procedures, whether elective for cosmetic reasons or for medical reasons. Choose well!