Why a Cosmetic Surgeon is NOT a Plastic Surgeon

Posted July 30, 2013 by Paul M. Parker, M.D., FACS

Patients are often unaware that there is a difference between doctors that call themselves cosmetic surgeons and ones that use the term plastic surgeons.  Board certified plastic surgeons are specifically trained in plastic surgery and during this time acquire the knowledge, judgment and experience to safely help patients meet their goals.

By choosing a board certified plastic surgeon, patients can be assured that the doctor has graduated from an accredited medical school and has completed at least three years of training as a surgical resident. A plastic surgery residency follows this, usually two to three years in duration. An additional year of fellowship in microsurgery, craniofacial surgery, or aesthetic surgery is obtained by some.  A plastic surgeon’s residency is devoted entirely to learning the craft of plastic surgery.  These sub specialized surgeons must then pass written and oral exams to become board certified. Board certification is important because it holds doctors to a higher standard of skill, judgment, knowledge, ethics and safety.

In comparison, cosmetic surgeons are typically doctors who hold a specialization in another area of medicine like gynecology, dermatology, ear nose and throat, ophthalmology, internal medicine, emergency room medicine or even family practitioners that have branched into cosmetic surgery.

“While I’m sure many of these surgeons can and do an okay job with plastic surgery, it isn’t their specialty, and they don’t have the background and training of a plastic surgeon.  If you take 10 plastic surgeons and 10 cosmetic surgeons and compare results, I’m sure the plastic surgeons will win every time.  Plastic surgery is what we were trained to do and what we do every day,” said Dr. Paul M. Parker.

Patients are told to ask questions before agreeing to surgery, but what exactly should they ask? Dr. Parker has developed a convenient checklist for patients to use when they have their consultations.  The checklist outlines the key areas that can help patients evaluate a surgeon and the practice.  The checklist includes questions about the surgeon, their credentials, their office, the staff, and specific procedures and how surgery is handled.

Patients at the Parker Center for Plastic Surgery are offered consultations that take 45 minutes to an hour.  Potential patients meet with Dr. Parker and his nurse coordinator, visit the imaging center to see computer generated before and after photos, and meet with the patient coordinator.

The Parker Center for Plastic Surgery and its staff members pride themselves on providing high-quality care, in a warm, professional atmosphere.  For over 20 years Dr. Parker has worked hard to give his patients beautiful, natural looking results with minimal downtime.

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