Dallas Cosmetic Surgeons vs. Plastic Surgeons – What’s the Difference?

All Dallas plastic surgeons are cosmetic surgeons, but not all Dallas cosmetic surgeons are plastic surgeons – there is an important distinction. The easiest way for the patient to understand the difference is to learn a bit about the American Board of Medical Specialists (ABMS).

The ABMS is the gold standard in medical certification for 24 different specialties and includes the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), which was recognized as a major specialty by the ABMS in May 1941.  In order to become board certified by the ABPS, a plastic surgeon must complete both a general surgery residency and a plastic surgery residency. This amounts to about 6 to 8 years of specialized training beyond medical school.

Now, consider the credentials of a Dallas cosmetic surgeon. First of all, there is no ABMS specialty for cosmetic surgery. There is an institution called the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, but this is in no way affiliated with the ABMS, nor is it of the same distinction of the ABPS. Doctors who call themselves cosmetic surgeons often served their residency in another specialty – such as gynecology or internal medicine – and later gravitated towards cosmetic surgery (usually because of decreased insurance reimbursement in their own field).

So, how does the patient identify a truly qualified plastic surgeon? Simple – ask your doctor which specific board certification he or she has. Ask him what he specialized in during his residency. You may be shocked to discover that their background and training has little to do with the procedure that they are about to perform on you.

Dr. Robert Schwartz is an example of the qualities and credentials you should look for in an American Board of Plastic Surgery certified plastic surgeon. Dr. Schwartz graduated from Yale University and UCLA School of Medicine, completed his general surgery residency at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles and his plastic surgery residency at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, which is widely regarded as one of the top programs of the world. In short, Dr. Schwartz is a true specialist – not a crossover cosmetic surgeon.

Call (888) 800-8300 to learn more about what a certified plastic surgeon can do for you.