WHAT IS PLASTIC SURGERY?

Plastic surgery is the medical specialty that deals with the correction of form and function. Plastic surgery encompasses many areas of sub-specialties: reconstructive, craniofacial, hand, wound, burn, micro-vascular, pediatric, and cosmetic. The word “plastic” is derived from the Greek plastikos, which means to mold or shape. There is no association with the synthetic polymer material known as “plastic.”


HOW IS RECONSTRUCTIVE PLASTIC SURGERY DIFFERENT FROM COSMETIC (AESTHETIC) PLASTIC SURGERY?

Reconstructive plastic surgery is performed to correct functional impairments caused by burns, traumatic injuries, congenital abnormalities, infection or disease, or removal of cancers or tumors. It is usually performed to improve function and to restore a normal appearance. Cosmetic plastic surgery deals with the enhancement of appearance..


WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PLASTIC AND COSMETIC SURGEON?

While the training for plastic surgery is broad and involves many years of study and application, cosmetic surgery training is not as well regulated and varies from taking weekend courses to training in 6 to 12 months. Asking for a plastic surgeon over a cosmetic surgeon increases the chances that your surgeon is not only skilled enough to take care of your needs, but properly trained to have options of care available for your given problem. What is board certification?Board certification is the process by which an allopathic (MD) or doctor of osteopathy (DO) in the United States documents by written, practical and/or stimulator-based testing a mastery of the basic knowledge and skills that defines an area of medical specialization. There are three agencies/organizations in the US that oversee the certification of MDs and DOs: American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) , American Osteopathic Association Bureau of Osteopathic Specialties (AOABS), and American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS). These are separate but equal certifying boards.

In addition to the initial certification process, physicians should maintain certification through an ongoing process of education and assessment to improve practice performance. Does certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery guarantee a better surgical outcome?There are 3 recognized American boards for plastic surgery: the American Board of Plastic Surgery (associated with the American College of Surgery), the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons, and the American Board of Physician Specialties (associated with the American Association of Physician Specialists – the only board to accept diplomats of ACGME, AOA, and RCPSC residencies).

As parallel boards, they ensure the same training and testing. In a field as specialized as plastic surgery, the surgeon’s artistic touch can be as significant as his or her training. A patient must keep in mind that each surgeon has individual preferences and techniques, as well as skill levels and experiences, resulting in different surgical outcomes. As such, certification for ANY board doesn’t guarantee a better surgical outcome. Communicating with the plastic surgeon and reviewing his previous work can help ensure that you get the results you desire.