It is important to understand the difference between a Cosmetic Surgeon and a Plastic Surgeon for multiple reasons. Most importantly, the American Board of Plastic Surgeons sets the utmost highest standards for patient safety and outcome. Many physicians practice cosmetic surgery, but unfortunately, are not guided or certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
The American Board of Plastic surgery is the only board that is recognized by the National Board of Medical Specialties. Members who are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery are held at the highest standards as pertains to patient safety, judgment, knowledge, education, skills, and ethics. Plastic surgeons in partnership with the American Board of Plastic Surgery are continuously improving surgery techniques through extensive research and continued education to ensure patient safety and outcomes.
Cosmetic surgeons typically belong to a different board, and can specialize in various aesthetic procedures despite not having completed formal training for. There are multiple examples of disturbing plastic surgery outcomes performed by cosmetic surgeons who have only learned cosmetic procedures through non-accredited training programs with no certification. For instance, a cosmetic surgeon can learn how to perform a breast augmentation, but should a problem arise, is not as skilled or knowledgeable as a plastic surgeon to handle a potential complication during and or after the procedure.
The importance of board certification lies in the amount of training and high standards required for a plastic surgeon to perform. Any doctor can call themselves a cosmetic surgeon, but it is important your surgery is by a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who has the expertise and training to offer you results you desire at the highest standards.