Difference Between Plastic Surgeons and Cosmetic Surgeons

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Not all surgeons are the same. And when we talk about aesthetic medicine, there are distinct differences in the training between the various physicians who offer similar procedures. Suppose you are considering cosmetic help through surgery. In that case, you may be asking friends and family who have had a similar operation about their experiences. You get the name of their surgeon and do research online, then when you’re ready, you schedule an appointment. But don’t stop there.

To make the best decision about who operates on you, you need to familiarize yourself with your physician’s background. Ultimately, you should understand more than the procedures they perform. You must research the training they’ve had as well.

To learn more about why Dr. Jason Cooper is the surgeon to choose for your cosmetic surgery, request a consultation  at one of his convenient locations in Jupiter or Palm Beach.

Cosmetic Surgeon or Plastic Surgeon?

A cosmetic surgeon and a plastic surgeon are not the same. A cosmetic surgeon is a doctor who performs surgery to enhance the appearance of their patients. Although technically, plastic surgeons who offer cosmetic enhancements are cosmetic surgeons, they are much more. However, surgeons who perform cosmetic procedures without the rigorous training and continuing education required by the American Board of Plastic Surgery are not plastic surgeons, nor can they refer to themselves as such. 

Currently, no cosmetic enhancement requires a plastic surgeon to perform the procedure. Many practices touch on various aspects of cosmetic medicine, including dermatologists, general surgeons, oral surgeons, family practice physicians, gynecologists, and Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT). However, even if they are board-certified in their respective field, that doesn’t mean they have trained in plastic and reconstructive surgery and hold themselves to the highest standards, like peer reviews and ethical oversight.

Some surgeons claim board certification from organizations not approved by the American Board of Medical Specialties, or ABMS. The ABMS’ role is overseeing specialty boards to help them develop and maintain standards for their physicians. The only board this organization recognizes for the performance of cosmetic surgery is the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

Boards not approved by ABMS include:

  • The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery
  • The American Board of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
  • The American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery
  • The American Board of Cosmetic Medicine
  • The American Society of Dermatologic Surgery
  • The American Board of Anti-Aging Medicine

What Is the American Board of Plastic Surgery?

The American Board of Plastic Surgery is an elite group of 24 member boards of the ABMS. It is the only board that requires its members to earn a four-year undergraduate degree, complete an accredited medical school program to achieve a medical doctor degree, and finish a certified plastic surgery residency training program. Many cosmetic surgery fellowships are not accredited, and their physicians do not meet ABPS criteria for consideration. The ABPS is the gold standard in training for plastic and cosmetic surgeons.

What Is the American Society of Plastic Surgery?

Founded in 1931, the American Society of Plastic Surgery is the largest plastic surgery organization worldwide. It requires members to be highly trained in cosmetic treatment as well as reconstructive procedures, hand surgery, burn, tumor removal, wound trauma, cancer reconstruction, acquired deformities, correction of birth defects, microsurgery, and maxillofacial and craniofacial surgery.

The ASPS requires its surgeons to have the following criteria.

  • Board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery
  • Has at least six years of surgical training and experience, three years in plastic surgery
  • Operates in accredited medical facilities
  • Adheres to its strict code of ethics
  • Fulfills a continuing medical education program to keep them abreast of the latest innovations and standards in safety
  • Your dedicated partner in medical care

Ocular and Facial Plastics

These two types of medicine offer a more focused approach to cosmetic treatment with ocular dealing with the eyelids. Facial plastic surgery focuses only on facial cosmetics. Neither of these specialties qualifies for board certification by the ABPS unless they acquire the credentials listed above.

Questions to Ask Your Surgeon

What training have you completed?

They should have at least six years of surgical training, with three being in plastic surgery.

Have you earned certification from the American Board of Plastic Surgery?

They should answer yes.

Are you a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgery?

They should answer yes. If no, they failed their board exams or had legal or ethical issues that got them rejected.

Why Dr. Jason Cooper?

South Florida plastic surgeon Dr. Jason Cooper graduated with honors from the University of Miami undergraduate and medical schools. He completed his training in the Combined Harvard Plastic Surgery Residency Program, a six-year course encompassing three major Harvard teaching hospitals and Boston Children’s Hospital. He did his chief residency at Massachusetts General Hospital.

He is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and a proud member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. He is a University of Miami Medical School and Harvard Medical School alumnus.

Dr. Cooper lives with his wife and two daughters in North Palm Beach, Florida.

If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Cooper’s practice, request a consultation with him today!