I am a Board Certified Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon. This is different than a General Plastic Surgeon, in both training and in the scope of practice. A Facial Plastic Surgeon completes a five-year residency in Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. Twenty-five percent of the Head & Neck Surgery Residency is in Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. A Facial Plastic Surgeon then completes a fellowship in Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery which is dedicated to only plastic surgery of the face and neck.
After completing a fellowship, the process to become Board Certified in Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery is as follows: The surgeon must be in practice for 2 years, and complete 50 facial plastic and reconstructive cases per year. These cases are then reviewed to make sure they meet strict standards of care. Once these cases are reviewed, the surgeon must then successfully complete a written exam and an oral exam to become Board Certified in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. To maintain Board Certification, this process is repeated every 10 years.
In contrast, a General Plastic Surgeon completes a five-year residency in General Surgery and a fellowship in General Plastic Surgery. A General Plastic Surgery Fellowship encompasses hand surgery, body reconstructive surgery, body cosmetic surgery, facial reconstructive surgery, and facial cosmetic surgery. Usually, a General Plastic Surgeon’s practice includes all of these disciplines.
In today’s healthcare environment, more and more doctors are offering cosmetic treatments to try to supplement their income in the face of declining insurance reimbursements. These doctors may be Board Certified in Emergency Medicine, Obstetrics / Gynecology, Internal Medicine, Family Practice, or Dentistry, but none of these board certifications include training in cosmetic injections or cosmetic surgery. Therefore, these doctors attend a weekend course that offers “Board Certification in Aesthetic Medicine”. After completing the weekend course, these doctors return home and tell their patients that they are “Board Certified in Aesthetic Medicine”. When consulting with a doctor about a cosmetic procedure, it is very important that you ask the doctor about their board certification.