It is said that “necessity is the mother of invention.” Plastic surgery developed from the demand for special skills needed when surgeons were faced with complex and challenging surgical problems. War injuries, particularly after the World Wars, were so catastrophic and complex that general surgeons of the day saw the need to develop special skills to fix these problems —thus, the birth of the plastic surgery specialty.
With the unique skills developed by plastic surgeons, applying many of the plastic surgery techniques to elective cosmetic surgery was a natural evolution. Plastic surgeons developed most of the current techniques commonly used in cosmetic surgery. The American Board of Plastic Surgery is the primary credentialing body for plastic surgeons. But, are all cosmetic surgeons “plastic surgeons”?
Cosmetic surgeons are essentially plastic surgeons that focus their practice on cosmetic surgery. However, anyone can call themselves a plastic or cosmetic surgeon. This is so because there is no trademark on the name “cosmetic surgeon” or “plastic surgeon.”
Unfortunately, many non-plastic surgeons call themselves cosmetic surgeons. The burden falls upon YOU to find out if they are or are not Board Certified Plastic Surgeons. Make sure that your surgeon is who he/she claims they are. Always think safety, experience, and training.
Robert Caridi, M.D.