Cosmetic surgeons can come from a variety of disciplines including board-certified dermatologists, general surgeons, oral and maxillofacial surgeons, ophthalmologists, otolaryngologists, plastic surgeons and physicians from other fields. Cosmetic surgery is primarily learned during a surgeon's post residency through ongoing continuing education, fellowship, training, and experience. Just because a physician is board certified in plastic surgery does not mean that this physician is the more competent surgeon to perform cosmetic surgery.

Cosmetic surgery is specifically concerned with maintaining normal appearance, restoring it, or enhancing it. Plastic surgery deals with the repair, reconstruction, or replacement of physical defects of form or function involving the skin, musculoskeletal system, craniomaxillofacial structure, hand extremities, breast, trunk, and external genitalia. Board certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery may mean that a physician is competent in "plastic surgery," but it does not mean that the same surgeon is competent in "cosmetic surgery." And, board certification as a plastic surgeon does NOT demonstrate more "cosmetic surgery" education, training or experience than that of a board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon, dermatologist, general surgeon, otolaryngologist or ophthalmologist.

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