Do you know that a dermatologist, dentist, or virtually any other type of doctor can perform cosmetic surgery, even without specialized training in plastic surgery? Many people don’t know that there is a significant difference between a plastic surgeon and a cosmetic surgeon, and that difference can have important implications if you’re considering aesthetic surgery. If you’re looking for a plastic surgeon in Langley or elsewhere in British Columbia, it’s essential to know the distinction.
A study performed a few years ago for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) revealed that many people have some misperceptions about the qualifications needed to perform cosmetic surgery. Eighty-seven percent of 5,135 people surveyed incorrectly believed that surgeons must have special credentials and training to perform these procedures or to advertise themselves as cosmetic surgeons.
In fact, doctors and surgeons with no specialized training can call themselves cosmetic surgeons. Why does that matter? Because plastic surgeons have far more specialized training in the procedures that “cosmetic surgeons” are offering—which impacts the quality and safety of the surgeries.
What Is Required To Become a Plastic Surgeon?
All doctors in Canada must earn a 4-year medical degree, pass the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE), and complete the associated residency training program. To be a plastic surgeon means completing at least 5 years of plastic surgery residency that is approved by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC). Once the residency is finished, the candidate has to pass specialty exams from the Royal College, which leads to becoming a Fellow of RCPSC in plastic surgery.
How To Choose a Plastic Surgeon
When considering any type of elective cosmetic surgeon, you want to find the best plastic surgeon for your procedure. When you’re researching surgeons, you’ll see a range of backgrounds. Use these guidelines to assist in your search:
Board certification: This is an essential qualification when choosing a plastic surgeon. You can check to see if a surgeon is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the only organization that certifies plastic surgeons in the country. Many cosmetic surgeons advertise they are “board certified,” but requirements vary greatly depending on which professional board they cite. It’s also important that a surgeon is an active member of professional organizations, such as the Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons, the Canadian Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Specialized training: Surgeons who complete fellowship training after their plastic surgery residencies have additional experience that sets them apart from other plastic surgeons. Dr. Mosher, for example, completed an aesthetic facial surgery fellowship under internationally acclaimed plastic surgeon Dr. B.F. Connell in California and additional specialized training in Toronto, Dallas, and Honolulu.
Experience: This not only includes how many years a plastic surgeon has been in practice but how often the surgeon performs the procedure in which you’re interested. This is something that you can ask surgeons during your consultations. It’s also advisable to view the surgeon’s before-and-after photos of patients who underwent the same surgery.
Choosing a plastic surgeon is a highly personal process that relies on honest, open communication. Ultimately, you should choose someone with whom you feel comfortable and who is highly qualified to perform plastic surgery, whether you’re looking for the best plastic surgeon in Langley, Vancouver, or anywhere else in the country. We encourage all of our clients to meet with multiple surgeons, if possible, to ensure you are partnering with a surgeon that you are comfortable with and that understands your aesthetic goals.