Plastic Surgeon vs Cosmetic Surgeon

What's the difference?

You've probably seen the terms "plastic surgeon" and "cosmetic surgeon" used interchangeably. Yes, they both refer to a surgeon who performs aesthetic medicine, but only one is officially acknowledged by governing medical organizations in the country.

Cosmetic Surgery and Cosmetic Surgeon

Cosmetic surgery is the general term for aesthetic medicine, and can be performed by any medical professional.

The label, cosmetic surgeon, refers to any medical doctor who performs aesthetic medical procedures, whether they are chemical peels and Botox to breast augmentation and tummy tucks. There is no credentialing board that governs the practices of cosmetic surgeons. Therefore, cosmetic surgeons are unregulated to a certain extent.

Plastic Surgery and Plastic Surgeons

Plastic surgery is a field of specialization that one can pursue only once medical school is completed. At university and hospitals, the field is formally known as Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Only those who complete the following can then be officially recognized as a plastic surgeon:

  1. a Bachelor's degree with a selection of necessary pre-med courses
  2. 4 years of medical school, after which the United States Medical Licensing Examination must be successfully completed
  3. 5-6 years of plastic surgery residency at a hospital
  4. 1 year fellowship (if a sub-speciality is pursued)

Cosmetic surgeons, on the other hand, are not required to complete residency or fellowship. Therefore, it is important to note that plastic surgeons have far more extensive training in a formal setting than what a cosmetic surgeon would require. This training can include breast reconstruction, wound healing, and microsurgery — procedures that require in depth knowledge of human anatomy and complex surgical techniques, making them better equipped to deal with potential problems in the rare event they arise. For this reason, only plastic surgeons have hospital privileges. Cosmetic surgeons do not.

Board Certified Plastic Surgeons

Dr. Endara and Dr. Fulks are both members of the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), the only board that is acknowledged and approved by the National Board of Medical Specialties. The ABPS requires its members to meet the highest standards in ethics, patient care and safety.

Our plastic surgeons are also members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), a professional organization that requires its members to provide an advanced quality of care in accredited surgical facilities that are regularly inspected.

For these reasons, you can have confidence knowing that our board certified plastic surgeons have the extensive training and surgical expertise that is required of them. Should you have any questions about their training, experience or certifications, please feel free to ask us!

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1601 Hatcher Ln.
Columbia, TN 38401

1601 Hatcher Ln.
Columbia, TN 38401

T: 931-381-2802


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