Cosmetic Surgeon VS Plastic Surgeon: Is There a Difference?

plastic surgeon versus cosmetic surgeon

Cosmetic Surgeon VS Plastic Surgeon: Is There a Difference?

The terms cosmetic surgeon and plastic surgeon are used interchangeably, but are they the same?

A Cosmetic Surgeon is Not Necessarily a Plastic Surgeon

A board-certified cosmetic surgeon is not necessarily a board-certified plastic surgeon. While both require training and recognized certifications, the requirements to achieve each are not equal. When you want to be confident that you are receiving the best care available, you want to ensure that you see a plastic surgeon for your cosmetic treatments or cosmetic surgery.

Not only does a board-certified plastic surgeon have more qualifications, but they can provide a broader range of surgical procedures. 

Becoming a board-certified cosmetic surgeon has more limited residency training and can be achieved in as little as one year of training. As a result, a strictly cosmetic surgeon is more limited in their surgical options. They are unlikely to be able to provide specialized treatments.

Still, don’t avoid a clinic just because they refer to themselves as a cosmetic surgeon. Some providers are certified as both cosmetic and plastic surgeons. The smart bet is always to double-check your surgeon’s certifications and ensure they have the education and training that best suits your needs.

How a Plastic Surgeon Differs From a Cosmetic Surgeon

Becoming a board-certified plastic surgeon requires a great deal more training. Where a cosmetic certification may require a single year of residency, plastic surgeons require years of practice. 

Before achieving their certification, plastic surgeons go through thousands of plastic and reconstructive surgeries. The extra training not only a greater degree of skill but increases their surgical options. 

Even once they are certified, they must commit to ongoing education in the field throughout their entire professional careers, staying engaged and up-to-date on procedures and new safety protocols. 

When you visit a plastic surgeon, you have the assurance that they not only have the required training but have maintained their skills and expertise in this rapidly-evolving field.


Another important differentiator is that plastic surgeons may provide specific specializations. These give them the ability to offer specialized treatments that may be unavailable through cosmetic surgeons. Here we explore a few common plastic surgery specializations.


Otorhinolaryngologists specialize in surgeries and managing conditions of the head, neck, ears, nose, and throat. A nose job, or rhinoplasty, is an example of a surgery you might trust to a surgeon who specializes in otolaryngology.  


An ophthalmologist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating eye disorders. They may prescribe medications, perform an eye lift or eyelid surgery, or implement laser therapy for their patients.


Dermatologists specialize in the skin, hair, and nails. A dermatology specialist may provide anything from diagnosis and care for skin cancers to cosmetic skincare treatments. Cosmetic dermatology includes a variety of treatment approaches, including surgery, laser therapy, and fat removal.

Book a Cosmetic Consultation with a Plastic Surgeon

Are you considering a cosmetic procedure? Leverage the superior expertise and training of a board-certified plastic surgeon. At Plastic Surgery Skin Clinic, we always have a plastic surgeon on site for consultations and perform or oversee procedures.

Book your consultation at the Plastic Surgery Skin Clinic in Newmarket!

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