Surgical Unicorns

There is no such thing as a 'facial plastic surgeon'.  It's a 'surgical unicorn' - it doesn't exist.  There are facial 'cosmetic surgeons' but not actually 'facial plastic surgeons'. In your search for a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, be sure to ascertain whether the doctor you're seeing is actually that or, instead, an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialist who performs cosmetic surgery.  In fact, 'facial plastic surgeons' are virtually all ENT physicians who perform cosmetic surgery.  They are not plastic surgeons at all.  The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) is the official Board in the United States that accredits 24 specialty boards.  Have a look:

http://www.abms.org/who_we_help/physicians/specialties.aspx
There simply is no such thing as a board of facial plastic surgery any more than there is a board of cosmetic surgery, as many surgeons would have you believe.  It is an intentional misrepresentation to the unknowing public who eagerly seeks such qualifications, whether real or fictitious.  These two 'boards' were created by groups of ENT physicians, oral surgeons, even dentists who wish to perform aesthetic surgery procedures but have not actually completed a true plastic surgery residency and subsequently completed the board certification process by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, the only Board certified by the ABMS for surgeons who perform any type of plastic surgery procedures. Performing cosmetic surgery does not make one a plastic surgeon.  Only completing an accredited plastic surgery residency and passing the grueling written and oral plastic surgery boards administered by the American Board of Plastic Surgery designates one as a Board certified plastic surgeon.

The term 'plastic', derived from the Greek 'plastikos' meaning 'changing form', in the medical usage is not an adjective, it is a specialty.  One cannot simply add the term to various specialties and magically convert them to plastic surgery subspecialties.  For instance, there is no such thing as a 'plastic proctologist' or a 'liver plastic surgeon' any more than there is a 'facial plastic surgeon'.  Rather, the use of such a term is clever misrepresentation designed to benefit a group of physicians who do not actually have the training that the public is being misled to believe they have.  Solution:  ask your doctor or his/her staff.   Plastic surgeons who have actually completed the required training and successfully passed their Boards would never refer to themselves as anything other than simply 'plastic surgeons'.  Only surgical unicorns would designate themselves with the magical title 'facial plastic surgeons' so watch out for them!

Dr. Jeff

Got Questions? Ask Dr. Jeff!

Send them to: jweinzweig@jwplasticsurgery.com

Please note that unless you are actually my patient, in which case I have seen you at JW Plastic Surgery, then I am technically not your doctor. These posts and responses to inquiries are provided for educational and entertainment purposes but cannot apply to any individual patient who has not been directly evaluated by myself or another board-certified plastic surgeon.

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