Facial Plastic Surgeon vs Plastic Surgeon: Which should I choose?

Published on September 26, 2016

You want to weigh your options carefully when selecting a surgeon for a facial plastic surgery procedure. There are many types of professionals who offer facial plastic surgery, including cosmetic surgeons, plastic surgeons and facial plastic surgeons. But how do these surgeons differ from one another? More importantly, how do you choose the right one to perform your surgery? Selecting a surgeon can be stressful, especially if you are interested in a procedure like a rhinoplasty, the most complicated aesthetic surgery in the world. When weighing the benefits of a facial plastic surgeon vs plastic surgeon, there are some very important considerations to keep in mind, including:

  • Education
  • Residency Programs
  • Fellowship Programs
  • Board Certification
  • Experience
  • Results

This article aims to educate you on the differences between the different types of aesthetic surgeons and why a facial plastic surgeon is the most qualified to perform your facial plastic surgery, whether it’s for medical or cosmetic reasons.

Facial Plastic Surgeon vs Plastic Surgeon: What’s the Difference?

Choosing a qualified aesthetic surgeon is critical to securing superior care and satisfactory results. Keep in mind that “buyer beware” applies to the selection of a prospective surgeon as well. It is up to you to ensure the surgeon you choose meets the necessary qualifications.

Qualified plastic surgeons in the U.S. are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, while qualified facial plastic surgeons are certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. This certification means the surgeon has received the specialized training and has the experience necessary to perform the delicate and complex job of facial plastic surgery.

The “facial plastic surgeon vs plastic surgeon” distinction may have never even entered your mind. After all, plastic surgery is plastic surgery, right? Not quite.

Plastic Surgeons: Medical Education & Residency

Before receiving the necessary certification from the ABPS, the plastic surgeon candidate must have completed the following:

  1. 4 Years of Medical School
  2. 5-6 Years Medical Residency in General Surgery & Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
  3. Passed the Certification Exam from the ABPS

Facial Plastic Surgeons: Medical Education, Residency, and Fellowship Programs

Facial plastic surgeons, on the other hand, have different qualifications and expectations. They include:

  1. 4 Years of the Medical School
  2. 1 Year Medical Residency in General Surgery
  3. 4 Years Residency in Otolaryngology (head and neck surgeries/ENT)
  4. 1-2 Years in a Facial Plastic Surgery Fellowship
  5. Pass a Rigorous Set of Exams for the American Board of Otolaryngology and American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

To sum it up, a plastic surgeon has the qualifications and skills necessary to perform facial plastic surgery, but a facial plastic surgeon has dedicated more time in the operating room to surgeries focused on the head and neck. Therefore, facial plastic surgeons specialize in facial plastic surgery while plastic surgeons are performing face and body surgeries, which doesn’t guarantee they are specialized.

Facial Plastic Surgeons’ Double Board-Certification – Facial Plastic Surgery and Otolaryngology

A double board-certification shows the surgeon has passed the exam requirements set by the American Board of Otolaryngology and the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. This double certification is proof the surgeon is uniquely qualified to perform facial plastic surgery procedures.

Facial Plastic Surgeon vs Plastic Surgeon: Rhinoplasty Considerations

Facial plastic surgeons are often ENTs (ear, nose, throat) in addition to plastic surgeons. An ENT has studied the complex relationship between each area of the face and has passed the exams given by the American Board of Otolaryngology. A general plastic surgeon does not commonly possess this additional knowledge and may negatively affect breathing function during a rhinoplasty procedure, for example.

What About Cosmetic Surgeons?

Cosmetic surgery is not interchangeable with plastic surgery and does not cover trauma or reconstructive surgery. Cosmetic surgeons complete four years of medical school and residency in one of six different specialties. Following that, the surgeon must complete a one- to two-year cosmetic surgery fellowship before taking the certification exam from the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. Compared to plastic surgeons and facial plastic surgeons, cosmetic surgeons have the least amount of training in surgery and may not be able to address more complicated cases.

Choose a Facial Plastic Surgeon in Scottsdale for Your Facial Plastic Surgery Procedure

If you’re looking for an experienced facial plastic surgeon in Scottsdale, consider Dr. David Hecht. Dr. Hecht graduated summa cum laude from the College of William and Mary in Virginia. After completing his fellowship in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery at the University of Illinois, he was honored for obtaining the highest international score on the examination administered by the American Board of Facial and Reconstructive Surgery. His skills and knowledge uniquely qualify him as a facial plastic surgeon. Contact us at our Scottsdale facial plastic surgery practice to schedule a consultation, learn about our financing options, and discuss your concerns with our team.

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