When you need a plastic surgeon many experts recommend selecting a board-certified plastic surgeon. These surgeons have the best training and skills available when it comes to bodily enhancement, reconstruction, and rejuvenation. When you actually start looking for a surgeon, however, you may find that things get a bit confusing. What is Board Certified Plastic Surgeon? What’s the difference between a board-certified plastic surgeon and a general surgeon? When you understand what board certification is (and is not), it is easier to select a qualified doctor for your breast augmentation, liposuction, or any other cosmetic procedure. Don’t forget, if you’re looking for a board-certified plastic surgeon near Charlotte, NC we are located just 15 minutes North in Huntersville, NC. Come check us out!

What Does Board Certified Mean?

Not all doctors are board-certified. In order to practice medicine a doctor must meet minimum standards for licensure, but these standards are not part of the board certification process. Board certification relates to the specific specialty a doctor has selected (dermatology, plastic surgery, obstetrics, etc.). When a doctor receives this certification it indicates that they have met additional requirements within this specialty including testing and peer review. Since board certification is optional and requires additional work, it is a sign of excellence within that particular specialty.

Board certification is specialty-specific. This means that a board-certified dermatologist will obtain specialized training relating to skin problems and diseases while a board-certified neurologist will receive training relating to the brain. Board certification simply means that a doctor has met additional requirements within their specialty. To become a board-certified plastic surgeon five years of surgical residency is required with two years specifically focused on plastic surgery. Other surgeons might be board certified in their specialty, but they do not possess the same training as a plastic surgeon, although they may be more qualified in other areas of medicine. Plastic surgeons are experts in plastic surgery while other board-certified doctors are specialists in their own fields.

What is the Difference between a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and a General Surgeon?

Board-certified plastic surgeons have received specific training relating to reconstruction, cosmetic enhancement, etc. General surgeons don’t have this same training. They are licensed and trained to perform surgery, but their skills are more general, not focused on cosmetic enhancement or reconstruction like a plastic surgeon. General surgeons can still offer cosmetic surgery procedures to patients (as can a variety of other doctors), but as their training isn’t specifically tailored to this type of surgery, it is simply something they can do, not something they specialize in.

What’s the Difference Between a Plastic Surgeon and a Cosmetic Surgeon?

There’s another important distinction that patients should be aware of as they seek a surgeon to help with their aesthetic procedure: the distinction between board-certified plastic surgeons, and cosmetic surgeons. Sometimes these terms seem like they are used interchangeably, but in reality, they denote very different things.

Different Levels of Accountability

One of the primary differences pertains to accountability. In order to be a board-certified plastic surgeon, you must hold yourself accountable to the standards of a recognized medical organization, made up of well-regarded physicians. This isn’t necessarily the case with cosmetic surgeons. The reason for this is that cosmetic surgery actually isn’t a recognized medical specialty; there is really no medical organization to whom a cosmetic surgeon might be held accountable.

Different Standards of Medical Training

Another area of difference is in training and ability. As we noted above, board-certified plastic surgeons have to submit to high levels of specialized training. The vetting process for board certification is rigorous, and surgeons must prove themselves in various ways to be accepted. They also maintain privileges to perform surgery within local hospital settings. 

But again, there is no way to become board certified in cosmetic surgery, because it’s not a recognized medical discipline and there isn’t a certifying board. Because of this, there’s no way to verify that a self-described cosmetic surgeon has had any particular level of training or maintains any special level of skill or clinical ability.

Different Approaches to Patient Safety

The distinction between board-certified plastic surgeons and cosmetic surgeons matters for a number of reasons, foremost among them being your safety. To become a board-certified plastic surgeon, you have to get seven to nine years of training in your surgical specialty, which equips you to promote patient wellbeing at all times. By contrast, a lot of cosmetic surgeons attempt to entice patients with discounted rates on their services but this is a classic example of getting what you pay for. Simply put, there’s no way to know if these surgeons have had the necessary training or clinical experience to put patient safety first.

Differences in Professional Affiliation

One final comment about board-certified plastic surgeons versus cosmetic surgeons: when you’re working with the former, you can expect them to enjoy membership in elite medical organizations, such as the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Cosmetic surgeons may belong to organizations such as the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, but this group simply isn’t comparable in terms of its reputability or its standards.

Find a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in Charlotte, NC

At H/K/B Cosmetic Surgery we believe that board certification is an important way for doctors to demonstrate their expertise. All of our surgeons are board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Similarly, the anesthesiologists that we use in our surgical center are also board certified.

You only get one body; make sure that you entrust it to the best each time you go under the knife. Just like you wouldn’t go to a plastic surgeon for heart surgery, you shouldn’t choose anyone but a board-certified and the best plastic surgeons in Charlotte for plastic surgery. Schedule your consultation with us at H/K/B Cosmetic Surgery today and discover what makes us a trusted name in plastic surgery in Charlotte, NC. We would love to tell you more about our advanced training, elite memberships, and the high standards of patient safety that we promote. Reach out to us whenever you’re ready to chat.