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Qualifications for Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon Vs. Cosmetic Surgeon


Posted May 11, 2017 in Blog

Woman sitting by a poolPlastic surgeon vs. cosmetic surgeon. What’s the difference? Many people are under the impression that plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery are one and the same. However, there are significant differences between the two that are important to note. If you or someone you know is considering a procedure, consider these important factors.

Plastic Surgery Vs. Cosmetic Surgery

To start, it will help to know the differences between these two types of surgery. Each is done for a different purpose, so they strive for different outcomes. Plastic surgery is primarily reconstructive in nature, meaning it has to do with correcting defects and healing injuries.

On the other hand, cosmetic surgery deals with enhancing one’s appearance through improving symmetry, proportions, etc. Cosmetic surgery often doesn’t deal with function the way plastic surgery does, however some procedures, such as rhinoplasty, serve to improve both function and appearance.


Due to their differing goals, plastic surgeons and cosmetic surgeons undergo different types of training, and when it comes to raw time spent practicing, plastic surgeons win hands down. The American Board of Plastic Surgery, whose certification is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), requires the following for certification:

  • Six years of integrated general surgery and plastic surgery residency training or alternatively, a five year general surgery residency followed by three years of plastic surgery
  • A four year M.D. or D.O. program
  • A four year bachelor’s degree
  • Submission of five case reports for past procedures performed
  • Passing written and oral ABPS exams
  • A valid state medical license

On the other hand, the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery requires:

  • An M.D. or D.O. in medicine
  • One year training in cosmetic surgery
  • Written and oral exams
  • Certification in another ABMS-recognized board (the ABCS itself isn’t recognized)

The sheer time spent in training by plastic surgeons, who will often perform cosmetic procedures as well as reconstructive plastic surgery, far outclasses that of cosmetic surgeons, who often have no certification.

Making the Choice

A board-certified plastic surgeon, like Dr. Todd Pollock at North Dallas Plastic Surgery, will have far more training than a board-certified cosmetic surgeon, and much, much more training than an uncertified cosmetic surgeon. When it comes to deciding plastic surgeon vs. cosmetic surgeon, the choice is obvious—don’t trust your health and appearance to anyone but a board-certified plastic surgeon.

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Contact information for individual North Dallas Plastic Surgery offices

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8305 Walnut Hill Ln #210
Dallas, TX 75231

Phone: (214) 363-2575

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317 N. Central Expressway Suite 100
Allen, Texas 75013

Phone: (214) 509-0270

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