You may be surprised to learn that any doctor with a medical license can legally perform cosmetic (aesthetic) surgery. They aren’t legally required to have any specialized training in that area. So, if you’re considering cosmetic surgery, you need to do your homework to find the plastic surgeon who’s best qualified to perform your procedure. It only makes sense to choose someone who’s highly trained and experienced. But how can you know who’s the best doctor for the job?
Who’s Trained in Cosmetic Surgery?
The specialists listed below are trained in cosmetic surgery. It’s a good idea to get familiar with what specific procedures each specialist is trained to perform.
Medical specialists who receive cosmetic surgery training include:
- Dermatologic surgeons – trained for surgery of the skin
- Ophthalmologists/oculoplastic surgeons – trained for surgery around the eyes
- Otolaryngologists/facial plastic surgeons – trained for surgery on the face and neck
- Plastic surgeons – trained for surgery in all areas of the face and body
What Type of Certification Should I Look for in a Plastic Surgeon?
Surgeons trained in the United States receive certification from the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). Look for a surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery or other reputable professional board.
ABMS board certification means the surgeon has:
- Met training standards in a valid training program
- Passed a rigorous written examination
- Passed oral examinations, including presentation of actual cases they’ve performed
What If They’re Not American Board Certified?
While looking for a board-certified plastic surgeon is a great place to start, there are a couple of special circumstances to consider.
New surgeons. It takes time to go through the board certification process. Newly practicing surgeons may be “board eligible,” meaning they’ve completed the appropriate training. If their training program focused on the procedure you’re interested in, they may be a good fit for you.
Internationally-trained surgeons. Surgeons trained internationally may be excellently trained and experienced, but they’re not eligible for certification by an ABMS board. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t choose them. In fact, internationally trained surgeons are often recruited by medical schools because of their special skills and expertise.
What Else Should I Consider When Choosing a Plastic Surgeon?
When interviewing plastic surgeons, make sure you check the status of their medical license, verify their board certification and ensure they operate in a certified facility
You should meet with each possible candidate and make sure you feel comfortable with the surgeon, his or her team and their facilities.
Be sure to ask:
- What specialties are you trained in?
- Where did you receive your training?
- What experience do you have performing the procedure(s) I’m considering?
Are You Looking for a Qualified Plastic Surgeon?
Emory Aesthetic Center has a skilled team of board-certified cosmetic surgeons who offer extensive experience in a variety of procedures.
About Dr. Eaves
Dr. Eaves recently returned to Atlanta, Georgia, to head the Emory Aesthetic Center as Medical Director, having previously completed his plastic surgery residency as well as a fellowship in endoscopic and minimally invasive plastic surgery at Emory University, The Emory Clinic, and associated hospitals. Before joining the Emory Aesthetic Center, Dr. Eaves was a partner in Charlotte Plastic Surgery for more than fifteen years and served as group president from 2010-2012.
His professional and institutional committee memberships and offices include an impressive list of national, international and local plastic surgery organizations, societies, boards, task forces, advisory councils, coalitions and foundations, including having served as President of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) from 2010-2011 and Trustee (2011-Present).
Dr. Eaves’ primary areas of academic inquiry have been in minimally-invasive and endoscopic aesthetic surgery, patient safety, system and process improvement in plastic surgery, evidence-based medicine applied to plastic surgery and recontouring surgery after massive weight loss. He has received several patents for new medical devices he developed, and has made major clinical service contributions to his field. Dr. Eaves has published more than 100 articles, book chapters and book reviews on plastic surgery in peer reviewed publications, as well as manuals, videos, computer programs and other teaching aids and has coauthored the first textbook on the topic of endoscopic plastic surgery.