Cosmetic surgeons are specialized physicians capable of performing surgical and non-surgical operations to restore or enhance the aesthetics of a particular body part or area.

Watch an Overview of Cosmetic Surgery

About Cosmetic Surgery

Cosmetic surgeons are highly specialized physicians that provide surgical and non-surgical procedures to enhance the aesthetics of a certain body part or feature, as opposed to plastic surgery, which provides reconstructive surgery for abnormalities caused by birth defects, trauma, disease and tumors, among others. Cosmetic surgeons perform elective procedures aimed at reforming or reconstructing undesirable physical attributes (such as a rhinoplasty, or ‘nose job’).

Cosmetic surgeons can play a massive role in increasing or enhancing a patient’s self-confidence, one of the main reasons that a patient may undergo cosmetic surgery. To that extent, there are a wide range of operations that a cosmetic surgeon may perform, including breast augmentation (breast implants), breast reduction surgery, breast lift surgery (mastopexy), eyelid surgery, hair transplants, lip augmentation, tummy-tuck surgery (abdominoplasty), liposuction, face lifts, nose jobs (rhinoplasty) and dermabrasions (to reduce wrinkles and/or blemishes), among many other procedures.

Although most cosmetic surgeries are classified as elective, they are not without the risks associated with other surgeries. Anyone who undergoes any type of surgery will have some type of risk involved, and although cosmetic surgeries are relatively safe, not every patient will qualify to undergo elective surgery. That being said, it is vital that patients research the experience and credentials of their cosmetic surgeon. Most cosmetic surgeons are board certified in plastic surgery from the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS).

Cosmetic Surgery Education & Training

In one of the most competitive fields of medicine, plastic surgery, the education required to become a cosmetic surgeon requires many years of advanced schooling and training. Beginning with a four year degree from an accredited school, a cosmetic surgeon then must gain admission to and earn an MD or DO degree from a certified medical school.

Physicians attempting to become cosmetic surgeons are further required to complete a certified three year general surgery residency, which will develop skills in different types of surgery. Subsequently, an additional three year plastic surgery residency is undertaken, with focus on cosmetic surgery in addition to other forms of plastic surgery.

A National Board Exam is the only obstacle standing in the way between a physician and having the title of cosmetic surgeon. After passing the national board exam, application for licensure in the state of their choosing finalizes their training and education in the field of cosmetic surgery.