Q. What is the difference between cosmetic and plastic surgery?
A. Cosmetic surgery is a unique discipline of medicine focused on enhancing appearance through surgical and medical techniques. Cosmetic surgery can be performed on all areas of the head, neck and body. Because treated areas function properly but lack aesthetic appeal, cosmetic surgery is elective.
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.
Q. How does the education differ between a plastic surgeon and a cosmetic surgeon?
A. Because the procedures and outcomes of each are quite different, the training of cosmetic surgeons and plastic surgeons is also very different. As there are no residency programs specifically focused on cosmetic surgery, physicians pursuing cosmetic surgery have backgrounds that include medical school, a residency and/or fellowship program, usually followed by attaining board certification in that specialty, and post-residency training specifically in cosmetic surgery. This can be done through a cosmetic surgery fellowship program, as well as through workshops, seminars and lectures. Physicians with significant experience in cosmetic surgery become certified by a variety of boards, including the American Society of Cosmetic Physicians or the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS), which has established a strict set of criteria to ensure experience and proficiency specifically in cosmetic surgery.
Plastic surgeons follow a similar path as many cosmetic surgeons. However, after finishing medical school they complete a residency and/or fellowship in plastic surgery, and then may become certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. At this point, a plastic surgeons additional training in cosmetic surgery is optional. If they choose, they may take steps to gain experience in cosmetic surgery through a fellowship training program, workshops, seminars and lectures, and then they canbecome certified by the same boards and societies as cosmetic surgeons.
Board certification is extremely important in determining a surgeon’s qualifications. Each of the aforementioned certifying boards has very different requirements and measures a physician’s education and experience in different fields. It is important that the public as well as healthcare professionals understand these differences so patients can make informed decisions when choosing a surgeon for a specific procedure, whether it is a cosmetic or plastic surgeon. Education and patient safety are at the very core of both the American Society of Cosmetic Physicians (ASOCP) and theAmerican Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (AACS) mission to advance the specialty of cosmetic surgery and quality patient care. As the only Academy for providing continuing medical education to cosmetic surgeons, AACS believes adhering to these principles provides the public with reassurance of the formal training and advanced education of cosmetic surgeons.
Q. What does it mean to be “Board Certified”?
A. Board certification is one of the many yardsticks in determining a surgeon’s qualifications. It is important to ask your doctor about his or her credentials and study them carefully. Each certifying board has different requirements and measures a physician’s education and experience in different fields. Cosmetic Surgeons are required to be board certified physicians by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and then undergo additional training and certifications as part of their formal training in cosmetic surgery.
Many of these board-certified physicians will then go on to complete the requirements to undergo the rigorous oral and written testing and scrutiny to become certified by a variety of agencies, including but not limited to, the American Society of Cosmetic Physicians, the American Society of Cosmetic Breast Surgeons, and the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, which has established a strict set of criteria to ensure experience and proficiency specifically in various aspects of cosmetic surgery and medicine.
As the medical director of SCULPT: Contemporary Cosmetic Surgery, Dr. Stanley is at the forefront of the most exciting advances in the field of cosmetic surgery and aesthetic medicine.
Dr. Stanley believes that helping patients look and feel their best requires a keen understanding of the latest technology and techniques coupled with an artistic application. He has always been noted for his commitment to patients and for providing a level of care and service that is unparalleled. Compassion, honesty, and integrity are qualities that Dr. Stanley lives by.
He believes that every patient deserves access to the most cutting-edge and minimally invasive procedures possible in order to achieve a true sense of harmony.