A plastic surgeon is a physician who performs operations that can improve a patient’s appearance and/or restore the function of a given body part. As they are medical doctors, they begin their education by going to a medical school and earning a degree as a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO). The aspiring plastic surgeon then serves a residency that lasts five or six years. During that time, they first learn general surgical techniques and then learn plastic surgical techniques. The plastic surgeon then needs to take and pass an exam in order to get their medical license. Some may pursue year-long fellowships that focus on a subspecialty such as hand surgery.
What Does “Board-Certified” Mean?
A doctor is described as “board-certified” if they have earned a certification from any of the 24 medical boards recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. While the process is voluntary, many experts recommend seeking out a board-certified plastic surgeon, for such certification indicates exceptional expertise and work ethic. A board-certified doctor needs to get recertified every ten years, and they need to continue their education so they can stay abreast of the latest technologies and newest developments in their field.
Plastic surgeons typically earn their certification from the American Board of Plastic Surgery by taking and passing a rigorous exam.
Reconstructive versus cosmetic surgery
The various subspecialties within plastic surgery fall into two broad categories: reconstructive and cosmetic. Reconstructive surgery is done to restore the normal function and appearance of a given body part. Reconstructive surgeons treat patients who have been disfigured by illness, injury or birth defect. These surgeons can provide such services such as the following:
• Repair scars
• Remove tumors
• Reattach body parts
• Repair cleft palates and/or lips
• Reconstruct breasts after a mastectomy
• Reconstruct knees or elbows damaged by sports injuries
Cosmetic surgery, also called aesthetic or elective plastic surgery, is done to improve the patient’s appearance. Services provided by cosmetic surgeons can include the following:
• BOTOX® injections
• Breast augmentation
• Tummy tucks
• Chemical peels
At medical school, all plastic surgeon candidates learn such subjects as microsurgery and craniofacial surgery. During their residencies, they start to learn surgical procedures that pertain to their specialty.
Choosing the Right Plastic Surgeon for You
Choosing the right plastic surgeon can seem like a daunting task, but you can rest assured that you have put your care into experienced hands when you choose Dr. Nir at Palms Wellington Plastic Surgery. If you are in the West Palm Beach or Wellington areas and interested in learning more about plastic surgery, contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.