Aesthetic Surgery?

Aesthetic Surgery?

Is there such a thing?  If you use Google and search the term you will find there is Aesthetic surgery, there are Aesthetic Procedures, there is an AMA definition addressing Cosmetic and Plastic Surgeons doing Aesthetic surgery, but there are no “Aesthetic Surgeons”. There is no board certification for an “Aesthetic Surgeon”.  Aesthetic surgery is defined by the AMA as:

“The finer line and the one most apt to be blurred, is the difference between aesthetic (cosmetic) and reconstructive plastic surgery. Today, it is not uncommon to see plastic surgeons title their papers and presentations with phrases such as “aesthetic breast reconstruction” or “aesthetic reconstruction of the nose” and to talk about “aesthetic reconstructive surgery” as an entity.2,3 Does this imply a growing tendency among plastic surgeons and related surgical specialists toward a lack of distinction between aesthetic and reconstructive surgery? Officially, there is a reasonably clear-cut distinction. According to the definition adopted by the American Medical Association (AMA) in 1989, “Cosmetic surgery is performed to reshape normal structures of the body in order to improve the patient’s appearance and self-esteem.” The AMA defines reconstructive surgery as surgery “performed on abnormal structures of the body, caused by congenital defects, developmental abnormalities, trauma, infection, tumors or disease. It is generally performed to improve function, but may also be done to approximate a normal appearance.”4 Of course, it is this last line that is particularly subject to interpretation.”

So, allow me to make some distinctions here:

“Plastic Surgeons” can become board certified with different credentials.  Currently, you must either do time in a general surgery residency then a fellowship in Plastic surgery.  Or, if you have a board certification in just about any surgical specialty you can apply to a fellowship, do the fellowship, and if you pass the Plastic surgery boards, you can be a Plastic Surgeon.

In Cosmetic surgery, if you are board certified in a surgical specialty you can do a fellowship in Cosmetic surgery and if you pass the boards, you can be a Cosmetic Surgeon.

The difference between the two actual specialties is the scope of practice.  In Cosmetic surgery, we address the re-shaping of mostly normal structures of the body that are not pleasing to the eye or have been deformed by aging, weight gain, weight loss, fat redistribution or sagging of the skin.  We also are professionals at skin care, fillers, neuromodulators, lasers and other skin treatments because we learn these things in our fellowship.  In Plastic surgery, they learn the treatment of abnormal structures of the body such as breast reconstruction after mastectomy, flap closures, hand surgery, burn surgery, and some learn aesthetic procedures and are proficient at them.

On the other hand, someone who advertises themselves as an “Aesthetic Surgeon” is creating their own specialty with no board certification and probably very little experience or knowledge.  He or she has learned from weekend courses watching someone else do the procedure and the patient is the one they are practicing on. If you go to a so called “Aesthetic Surgeon”, they should be paying you as you are their learning curve, AKA guinea pig.

The bottom line is, beware of anyone who has no certifications and is inventing a specialty for their own benefit, in this case an “Aesthetic Surgeon”.

I recently saw a Facebook post by a so called “Aesthetic surgeon” in the NWA area who claims he is the first to offer a technology.  He is the first at one thing only, a specialty that does not exist.

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