Cosmetic Surgeon and Plastic Surgeon are NOT the Same

This may be touted as the Information Age, but there is no shortage of misinformation to go with it. From websites circulating false news stories to politicians spouting outright lies as if they were truth, sometimes it’s hard to know what’s real and what’s fake.

Misinformation is even a problem in the aesthetic world, where patients are having surgery done by doctors who claim to be “board-certified” when their real credentials are anything but that.

The problem was detailed in a story in the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. The story detailed a recent study showing that consumers don’t understand the different between the terms “plastic surgeon” and “cosmetic surgeon.” But the difference is huge and can have a real impact on outcomes for unsuspecting patients having cosmetic surgery.

Board certified?

In the study, researchers designed an Internet survey to assess public perceptions of aesthetic or cosmetic surgery. A total of 5,135 respondents completed the survey.

The results showed misperceptions and misinformation about qualifications necessary for surgeons to perform cosmetic surgery. Almost 90 percent of respondents incorrectly believed that surgeons must have special credentials and training to perform cosmetic surgery, or to advertise themselves as aesthetic/cosmetic/plastic surgeons.

Over half of the respondents were unsure about the training needed to become a “board-certified” plastic or cosmetic surgeon. In truth, surgeons need at least six years of residency training to be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). This compares to only one year for certification by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS). But these are not comparable organizations — the American Board of Medical Specialties does not recognize ABCS certification.

This details the problem. One year of surgical experience is hardly enough, but patients see the doctor is “board-certified,” not understanding it is the ABCS board, which is a basically worthless, and unrecognized, certification.

With the growing demand for cosmetic procedures there is a serious financial motive for physicians to add these surgeries to their practices. The study’s author, Dr. Rod J. Rohrich, editor-in-chief of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, comments, “A growing number of physicians without training in plastic and reconstructive surgery are performing surgery to improve one’s appearance, often at the expense of patient safety and outcomes.”

Dr. Rohrich explains how they are doing this. “With the current system, physicians can capitalize on confusing jargon to convince patients that they are appropriately qualified to perform the procedures they advertise their expertise in,” he says.

The key for patients is to do their homework, and have cosmetic surgery performed by surgeons who are board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Dr. Herte is board-certified by the ABPS.

So, don’t fall for false promises made by inexperienced and untrustworthy doctors and surgeons. Trust Dr. Herte to provide the outcomes you seek with your cosmetic procedures. Call her at 702-732-9600

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