When it comes to surgeons who provide Plastic Surgery, there are a lot of options. It’s important to consider the difference between a Facial Plastic Surgeon and a General Plastic Surgeon who performs surgery on the face:
1. Expertise – The majority of Plastic Surgeons perform procedures of a reconstructive and cosmetic nature on the whole body – not just the face. Facial Plastic Surgeons differ in that they only perform procedures on the head and neck. Within Facial Plastic Surgery, there are even some surgeons who have additional expertise on certain procedures such as rhinoplasty or facelifts. It’s worthwhile for the patient to ask how many cases of a particular procedure the surgeon performs each year in comparison to all others he or she does.
2. Surgical Training – Facial Plastic Surgeons partake in an Otolaryngology (ENT) – Head & Neck Surgery residency program which lasts 5 years after obtaining their medical degree. During this training, the focus is solely on the head and neck. Following this, Facial Plastic Surgeons complete 1 or 2 years of intense fellowship training focused on plastic and reconstructive surgery of the face. These fellowships are highly competitive and only 40-50 positions exist in North America. Be sure to learn the details of the surgical training that the surgeon you are consulting with has completed.
3. Certification – Upon completion of all requisites of the residency and fellowship programs, Facial Plastic Surgeons become double-board certified by both the American Board of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery (ABOHNS) – and the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ABFPRS). These credentials should be noted by the patient as proof of surgeons who are upheld to the highest standards in the head and neck region.
Choosing a surgeon with the right credentials, experience, and rapport is a difficult decision. A Plastic Surgeon who mainly does breast work with the occasional rhinoplasty each year is very different than a Facial Plastic Surgeon who performs dozens of rhinoplasties each year while doing no procedures below the neck. Knowing this information, would you want a Facial Plastic Surgeon performing your breast augmentation? Probably not (and that’s a good thing!). In the end, consider only trusting your face to a Facial Plastic Surgeon – it’s all that we do.