For the cosmetic surgery patient, the feeling leading up to their procedure is often exciting yet nervous. A critical part of this process, for many patients, is understanding the training that their surgeon has undertaken to prepare her or himself to expertly perform consultation and procedures for them. For surgeons, unfortunately, it is not uncommon to lose sight of how difficult understanding surgical education might be for the patient.

The basics

Cosmetic Surgery is a specialty that is acknowledged by the American Medical Association as distinct specialty from others. It shares procedures that are germane to many other specialties.

Cosmetic surgeons generally have a background in the following specialties: plastic and reconstructive surgery, dermatology, otolaryngology — facial plastic surgery, oral and maxillofacial surgery, oculoplastic surgery, among others. All cosmetic surgeons must have completed medical or osteopathic medical school and, through the respective USMLE and COMLEX licensing examinations, earned their M.D. or D.O. degree to achieved state licensure.

The steps you’ve taken in training

Complete an internship and residency in the following specialties:

  • Otolaryngology – head and neck surgery/facial plastic surgery
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
  • Ophthalmology
  • Dermatology
  • Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
  • General Surgery
  • Obstetrics and Gynecologic Surgery

Following residency, complete a fellowship:

  • Cosmetic Surgery (accredited by the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery)
  • Aesthetic Surgery (accredited by the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery)
  • Oculoplastic Surgery (accredited by the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery)
  • Cosmetic Dermatologic Surgery (accredited by the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery)
  • Cosmetic Facial Surgery (Accredited by the American Association of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery)
  • Facial Plastic Surgery (accredited by the American Academy of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery)

Following fellowship, successfully pass a subspecialty board examination:

  • American Board of Cosmetic Surgery
  • American Board of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surger

Though the training pathways may seem varied, it is because of its multidisciplinary contributors that the field of cosmetic surgery continues to advance so remarkably. The right cosmetic surgeon has passion for their field and is proud of their training and experience.

As a patient, ask them about it. You’ll feel better for having done so.