What Is a Cosmetic Surgeon?


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What Is a Cosmetic Surgeon?

A cosmetic surgeon is a doctor who specializes in cosmetic and/or reconstructive surgery with the goal of improving the appearance or function of a body part. Plastic surgeons, sometimes referred to as cosmetic surgeons, reconstruct or repair physical defects from birth or injury. A plastic surgeon is a surgical specialist who has completed a minimum of 5 years of study and training in surgery after receiving a medical degree. Cosmetic surgery is an extension of reconstructive surgery as it requires surgical skill, a sense of harmony of the body parts, and a deep sense of aesthetic judgement from the surgeon.

What Is a Cosmetic Surgeon?

The American Board of Medical Specialties has approved twenty four sub-specialty boards out of the large number that apply. Plastic surgery is one that has met the board's strict qualification criteria. Consumers looking for a board-certified plastic surgeon should be aware that certification by any other board does not offer the same strict criteria for certification as some physicians may be able to receive certification by paying a fee. To be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, the cosmetic surgeon must spend at least two years in an approved plastic surgical residency. When in practice for at least one year, the surgeon must pass written and oral exams to be considered for the distinction of being called a board certified plastic surgeon.

A physician certified by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery must:

- be board-certified in an original surgical specialty recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties
- have completed a fellowship approved by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery
- have been in the practice of cosmetic surgery for the past five years
- have performed no fewer than 1,000 cosmetic surgical procedures
- be currently performing a minimum of 200 documented cosmetic procedures per year
- pass a stringent two-day oral and written exam
- be of good moral character

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