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How Should I Choose a Plastic/Cosmetic Surgeon?

Updated: May 17

The plastic surgeon you choose to perform your cosmetic procedure whether an abdominoplasty, a breast reduction, breast lift, or another kind of plastic surgery should be a qualified, certified physician licensed in your country to perform the surgery you want to have. The success of your results will depend heavily on the quality of your doctor, so make sure to take the time to research your options before choosing the best one. Check out online reviews for doctors that are licensed and recommended by reputable organizations like the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), members of International Confederation of Plastic Surgery Societies (ICOPLAST) and the Medical councils.

If you’ve always thought cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery were one in the same, you’re not alone. A significant number of plastic surgeons choose to focus their practice on cosmetic surgery, and as such, the terms are often used interchangeably. But this is not technically correct. Cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery are closely related specialties, but they are not the same.

Aesthetic/Cosmetic Surgery & Plastic Surgery Have Different Goals

While both cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery deal with improving a patient’s body, the overarching philosophies guiding the training, research, and goals for patient outcomes are different.

What is Aesthetic/Cosmetic surgery?

Cosmetic Surgery: Focused on Enhancing Appearance

The procedures, techniques, and principles of cosmetic surgery are entirely focused on enhancing a patient’s appearance. Improving aesthetic appeal, symmetry, and proportion are the key goals. An aesthetic surgery can be performed on all areas of the head, neck, and body. Since cosmetic procedures treat areas that function properly, cosmetic surgery is designated as elective. Cosmetic elective procedures are performed by doctors from a variety of medical fields, including plastic surgeons.

Types of Cosmetic Surgery Procedures:

Breast Enhancement: Breast Augmentation, Breast Lift, Breast Reduction

Facial Contouring: Rhinoplasty, Chin, or Cheek Enhancement

Facial Rejuvenation: Facelift, Eyelid Lift, Neck Lift, Brow Lift

Body Contouring: Tummy Tuck, Liposuction, Gynecomastia Treatment

Skin Rejuvenation: Laser Resurfacing, Botox®, Filler Treatments

What is plastic surgery?

Plastic Surgery: Focused on Repairing Defects to Reconstruct a Normal Function & Appearance

Plastic surgery is defined as a surgical specialty dedicated to reconstruction of facial and body defects due to birth disorders, trauma, burns, and disease. Plastic surgery is intended to correct dysfunctional areas of the body and is, by definition, reconstructive in nature. While many plastic surgeons choose to complete additional training and perform cosmetic surgery as well, the basis of their surgical training remains reconstructive plastic surgery. In fact, in 1999, the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons changed its name to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons to more strongly communicate the message that “plastic and reconstructive surgeons are one in the same.”

Types Plastic Surgery Procedures:

Breast Reconstruction

Burn Repair Surgery

Congenital Defect Repair: Cleft Palate, Extremity Defect Repair

Lower Extremity Reconstruction

Hand Surgery

Scar Revision Surgery


• Am I a good candidate for my procedure of interest? If not, what is keeping me from being a candidate?

• How many times have you performed this procedure?

• What are the risks?

• What are the benefits?

• What certification(s) do you hold?

• Where will the surgery take place?

• Is the surgical facility accredited?

• Do you have hospital privileges? If so, where?

• Who performs anesthesia and what are their qualifications?

• What type of anesthesia is required for this procedure?

• What are the credentials of your surgical staff?

• How would you respond if an emergency were to occur during surgery?

• Have you helped patients with similar physical qualities and concerns? Can you show me before and after photos of their results?

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