Cosmetic surgery is becoming quite prevalent these days as more and more people seek to improve their appearance. Even with its increasing popularity, however, many people do not know much about this particular field of medicine. The following article looks at some important information that anyone considering this type of elective surgery should know.
What Is the Difference Between Cosmetic Surgery and Plastic Surgery?
Because plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery use many of the same surgical techniques, the two terms are often used interchangeably. This usage is incorrect, however, as important differences exist between the two fields. The main difference is that they have contrasting purposes. Plastic surgery aims to repair damage to the body that occurs through illness, disease, birth defect, or trauma. Cosmetic surgery is a sub-specialty of plastic surgery and is purely elective. Patients who undergo cosmetic procedures do so to enhance their appearance rather than repair damage from an injury or disease.
For example, someone needing surgery to repair skin damage from a fire would undergo plastic surgery, while a person having a facelift to improve their appearance would be undergoing cosmetic surgery.
How Does a Doctor Become a Cosmetic Surgeon?
All doctors must go through medical school and, after graduating, enter a residency program. During their residency program, which usually lasts for 3 years, doctors may focus on a particular specialty, such as plastic surgery. But unlike other specialties, no residency programs focus on cosmetic surgery. For this reason, prospective cosmetic surgeons often receive their primary training in fellowship programs after they have completed their residency requirements.
One such fellowship program is overseen by the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery. It requires participants to perform at least 300 cosmetic surgeries per year under the guidance of an experienced surgeon.
After completing their fellowship training, cosmetic surgeons have the opportunity to enhance their credentials by becoming board certified. Being certified involves meeting the requirements of the certification body regarding training and passing rigorous and written exams. A recertification exam every 10 years is also required by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgeons.
Is Cosmetic Surgery Safe?
As long as the procedure is done by a qualified surgeon and staff, the chances of any untoward outcome are very low as they are for any other type of surgery, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Having a cosmetic procedure is not something that should be done without a lot of careful consideration. For more information, consult with a cosmetic surgeon in your area.