Cosmetic Surgery vs. Plastic Surgery

Cosmetic Surgery vs. Plastic Surgery

(Information is taken from the AACS website-

Cosmetic surgery is a unique discipline of medicine focused on enhancing a patient’s appearance through surgical and medical techniques. Cosmetic surgery can be performed on all areas of the head, neck and body; it’s an elective procedure because treated areas, while lacking aesthetic appeal, function properly.

Plastic surgery is defined as a surgical specialty dedicated to reconstruction of facial and body defects due to birth disorders, trauma, burns, and disease. Plastic surgery is intended to correct dysfunctional areas of the body and is reconstructive in nature.

How to Find a Qualified Cosmetic Surgeon

To find the most qualified doctor for a specific cosmetic procedure, you must compare doctors’ overall (residency and post-residency (Fellowship program) training, experience and proven competence with respect to that specific cosmetic procedure.

Know that the residency training required to become board certified in plastic surgery may NOT include training with respect to many common cosmetic procedures. *

However a Board Certified Cosmetic Surgeon has extensive specialized training in Cosmetic procedures making him an expert in this medical arena.

Therefore the title “board certified plastic surgeon” may indicate certain training and experience with respect to plastic surgery, it does not indicate the same thing with respect to cosmetic surgery, nor does it tell you that the doctor has more or less cosmetic surgery training than a board certified dermatologist, facial plastic surgeon, general surgeon, gynecologist, oral and maxillofacial surgeon, ophthalmologist, otolaryngologist, or other doctor.


To be BOARD CERTIFIED by the American Board of Surgery, a doctor must graduate from an accredited medical school, do internship and residency training in general surgery, complete an approved residency with a minimum of five years then pass extensive written and oral exams. These include a review of all cases done by the surgeon in the preceding year. The process takes several years after graduation from medical school.

Cosmetic surgery encompasses both cosmetic facial and body procedures. The term “Cosmetic Surgeon” although sometimes misunderstood refers to the specialized and extensive training the surgeon has performed in cosmetic procedures such as facial surgeries including a face lift, blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery), brow lift, rhinoplasty, lip augmentation, chin augmentation as well as body procedures such as breast augmentation, breast reduction, breast lift, labiaplasty, thigh lift, brachioplasty (arm lift), brazilian butt lift, tummy tuck and more.

The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery defines cosmetic surgery as “a subspecialty of medicine and surgery that uniquely restricts itself to the enhancement of appearance through surgical and medical techniques.”

The American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (AACS) is a professional medical society for cosmetic surgeons whose members are dedicated to patient safety and physician education. Founded in 1985, the AACS has more than 2000 members, including Dr. Kinal and represents cosmetic surgeons in the American Medical Association.

The AACS covers a number of practice areas, including dermatology, oral & maxillofacial surgery, otolaryngology, general surgery, ophthalmology, and plastic/reconstructive surgery. The AACS is the organization that represents cosmetic surgeons in the American Medical Association. The Academy, in conjunction with the Cosmetic Surgery Foundation, sponsors the Annual Scientific Meeting as well as many live-surgery workshops.

The AACS has designed a special patient education website explaining the difference between cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery, and how to choose your cosmetic surgeon. This website clears up a number of misconceptions in the media, issues about board certification and the multi-disciplinary nature of cosmetic surgery.

Board Certification – American Board of Cosmetic Surgery

With our strict qualifications, rigorous examinations and ongoing assessments, the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery is the highest standard of measure for this specialty.

No other certifying board exclusively tests knowledge and experience in cosmetic surgery – the enhancement of appearance through surgical and medical techniques. Furthermore, candidates must already possess at least one recognized board certificate before they can even be considered for certification through the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery.