A cosmetic doctor is a licensed physician who performs cosmetic treatments to improve a patient’s appearance. They can make changes to the face and body to improve their self-image and appearance, but they should not be confused with plastic surgeons, who specialize in reconstructive surgery following cancer or other life-threatening conditions. Although they may perform some cosmetic procedures, plastic surgeons undergo extensive training and are board certified in their specialty.
The distinction between cosmetic and plastic surgeons is important for patients who want to ensure they are seeing a true specialist. Many websites list “cosmetic surgeons” with little or no clarification of who they are, and patients should carefully consider this when selecting a surgeon for their procedure. Any licensed physician can call themselves a cosmetic surgeon, so they should have the right credentials to be able to safely perform their chosen treatment.
There are many nonsurgical cosmetic treatments that a dermatologist can offer, such as chemical peels, which use a solution to remove the top layer of damaged skin cells, laser therapy, which uses focused light beams to target specific conditions like acne scars, and microdermabrasion, which exfoliates the skin for smoother texture. A Cosmetic Doctor can also administer injections such as Botox and dermal fillers, which help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
For those who are concerned about unwanted fat deposits in the body, cosmetic dermatologists can offer treatments such as CoolSculpting, which uses controlled cooling to eliminate fat cells. Other noninvasive cosmetic procedures include laser hair removal, which permanently reduces the number of hair follicles, and skin rejuvenation, which uses medical-grade products to stimulate collagen production. A cosmetic dermatologist is trained in all of these treatments and can help a person determine which ones would benefit them the most.
Plastic surgeons are trained in all of these noninvasive techniques, as well as surgical techniques to alter the face and body, such as rhinoplasty, breast reduction, tummy tucks, and mole removal. They also have experience repairing facial defects, including scarring and disfigurement from trauma or burns. They may also be skilled in reconstructive surgery following a head injury or cleft lip and palate, as well as reconstructive plastic surgery for children born with physical deformities.
Because a plastic surgeon is trained to treat the whole body, they are ideally suited to the most complex cosmetic surgeries, such as nose reshaping after cancer treatment or reconstructive cleft lip and palate surgery. They can also address more minor cosmetic issues such as sagging or excess skin, which is often the result of sun damage.
As with any type of medical procedure, there are risks involved in cosmetic surgery, including the potential for complications that could affect your health or your appearance. Patients should be sure to choose a qualified surgeon with a long track record of safety and success and who is willing to explain the full scope of the expected outcomes, including any possible risks and complications.