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

Female Plastic Surgeon in Tulsa, Oklahoma Also Serving Jenks, Broken Arrow, Owasso & Nearby Areas

Posted: September 26, 2019

Graphic explains the qualifications and differences between a board-certified plastic surgeon and cosmetic surgeon. Aesthetically focused treatments and procedures are an ever-changing trend. New techniques such as the drainless tummy tuck and advanced technologies have made cosmetic enhancement more popular than before. However, finding the right provider for your aesthetic goals can be complicated and confusing. Many people don’t know the difference between a cosmetic surgeon and a plastic surgeon. South Tulsa Plastic Surgery conducted a Facebook poll to see how many of our local patients know what makes board-certified plastic surgeons stand out from cosmetic surgeons, and 40 out of 62 respondents did not know. 

The terms “plastic surgeon” and “cosmetic surgeon” confuse and may mislead most patients, according to a 2017 report in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Out of 5,135 surveyed people, 87 percent thought special credentials and additional training are required for a surgeon to refer to themselves as a cosmetic surgeon, aesthetic surgeon, or plastic surgeon. Many were also puzzled about what it means to be board-certified. 

Cosmetic surgeons are only allowed to perform cosmetic procedures.

There are two forms of plastic surgery: Reconstructive and cosmetic. Reconstructive plastic surgery aims to improve cosmetic issues or functionality that stem from an injury, infection, disease, or congenital defect. One example of reconstructive surgery is breast surgery after a single or double mastectomy. Reconstructive procedures should only be performed by a plastic surgeon as they have specific training in this area. 

Cosmetic plastic surgery is focused on enhancing one’s face and body, such as breast augmentation to increase breast size or liposuction to eliminate stubborn fat. A plastic surgeon or a cosmetic surgeon can perform aesthetic procedures that are surgical or nonsurgical. 

Brenda Schiesel, D.O. is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and has an excellent reputation and extensive experience helping patients reach their body goals. 

What Does “Board Certified” Mean? 

Another aspect of plastic surgery that often confuses patients is what does it mean if a plastic surgeon is board-certified? Do they have additional qualifications than others? The short answer is yes, but it also depends on the organizations by which your surgeon is certified. The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) is the most notable board certification and has evaluated surgeons using strict standards since 1933. ABPS is an organization under the American Board of Medical Specialties that also gives certified plastic surgeons membership to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. 

To earn this certification, a surgeon must complete 6-8 years of specialized training through an accredited U.S. program in plastic surgery. There are also written and oral exams as well as continuing education requirements. Surgeons must recertify every ten years. 

The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS) provides certification to U.S. surgeons in cosmetic surgery only. However, a cosmetic surgeon can call themselves as such regardless of board-certification. A dermatologist, dentist, oral surgeon, and any doctor can refer to themselves as a cosmetic surgeon. This confusing distinction is compounded by the marketing tactics used by some doctors and their practices. 

How to Choose a Highly Qualified Plastic Surgeon 

Before you schedule your consultation, look into the plastic surgeon to see their credentials. The ABPS has a public list so you can make sure your doctor is a board-certified plastic surgeon. Write down your questions, look at before and after photos, and read the reviews to make sure you choose the best doctor for your plastic surgery procedure. One question to include on your list is, “Which board are you certified by?” That helps you be sure he or she has gone through the appropriate channels and extensive training to help you reach your cosmetic or reconstructive goals. 

Contact Our Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon in Tulsa 

If you’re interested in plastic surgery, contact South Tulsa Plastic Surgery today at (918) 518-5144 to schedule your consultation with Dr. Brenda Schiesel. Our ABPS-certified plastic surgeon serves clients in surrounding areas of Tulsa, Oklahoma, including Jenks, Broken Arrow, and Owasso.

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