Is cosmetic dermatology the same as plastic surgery?

A cosmetic dermatologist is a doctor who is highly trained primarily in dermatology and specializes in treating skin conditions through cosmetic procedures that are minimally invasive and do not require surgery, also known as a non-surgical procedure. Unlike cosmetic dermatologists, they have chosen to specialize in surgical procedures rather than dermatology. To be a licensed plastic surgeon, you must be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Plastic surgeons are experts in reshaping or reconstructing the body.

They perform facelifts, breast enhancements, liposuction, rhinoplasty, and other body-altering procedures. While they may be experts with a knife, that doesn't necessarily mean plastic surgeons understand the intricate nature of fillings or aesthetics. When a dermatologist recommends that a patient seek broader care, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon becomes the most viable source. Patients should always seek a plastic and reconstructive surgeon for invasive and non-invasive procedures, while a dermatologist should be reserved for routine visits and monitoring to better serve their body.

A big problem for many people is that a cosmetic surgeon and a plastic surgeon can be combined. But while cosmetic surgery is a type of plastic surgery, cosmetic surgeons can only perform cosmetic procedures, explains Dr. Alan Matarasso, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). Cosmetic surgery procedures, techniques, and principles are fully focused on improving the patient's appearance.

Improving aesthetic appeal, symmetry and proportion are the key objectives. Cosmetic surgery can be performed on all areas of the head, neck, and body. Since cosmetic procedures treat areas that work properly, cosmetic surgery is designated as elective. Elective cosmetic procedures are performed by physicians from a variety of medical fields, including plastic surgeons.

Plastic surgeons and dermatologists can perform standard procedures such as Botox, dermal fillers, chemical peels, and various skin rejuvenating treatments. Both groups of doctors form relationships with each other. They can also refer patients to each other to provide you with the best possible care for any given specific treatment. Essentially, what this means is that facial plastic surgeons can provide all solutions, both surgical and non-surgical, whereas dermatologists are only qualified to offer non-surgical solutions.

In addition to that, dermatologists have a minimum training requirement of four years, while facial plastic surgeons have a minimum training requirement of six years with advanced surgical training in their area of specialty.