Plastic surgery can enhance or correct the
appearance of certain features on a person’s face or body. It can be performed
for reconstructive or cosmetic reasons, depending on the patient’s needs.
Reconstructive plastic surgery addresses
physical defects that result from injury, genetics, or disease. On the other
hand, cosmetic plastic surgery is performed to make someone look better, and it
is usually an elective procedure.
The doctors who perform these surgeries are
called plastic surgeons. Plastic surgeons can further be divided into two main
categories: general plastic surgeons and facial plastic surgeons. There aren’t
many differences between them, but understanding those differences can help
patients choose the right doctor for their needs.
If you’re thinking about getting plastic
surgery, here’s what you need to know about the main differences between
plastic surgeons and facial plastic surgeons—and how to choose between the two.
About Plastic Surgeons
Plastic surgeons can perform surgery on any
part of the body, including the face. Along with their medical license and
years of specialized training, plastic surgeons may also be certified through
the American Board of Plastic Surgery, or ABPS, and the American Osteopathic
Board of Surgery, or AOBS. Board-certified plastic surgeons can perform breast
augmentations, tummy tucks, and facelifts, along with other cosmetic or
About Facial Plastic Surgeons
Unlike general plastic surgeons, facial
plastic surgeons perform procedures only on the face, head, and neck. They are
trained extensively in facial aesthetics, anatomy, and facial balance. Along
with their normal credentials, facial plastic surgeons are typically certified
by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, also known
as ABFPRS. Rhinoplasties, facelifts, and blepharoplasties are some of the most
popular procedures performed by facial plastic surgeons.
Many facial plastic surgeons also offer
injectables and other treatments in their practice. Botox, chemical peels, and
laser resurfacing are some skin therapies that might be offered in a facial
plastic surgeon’s office.
The most obvious difference between plastic
surgeons and facial plastic surgeons is their area of expertise. Facial plastic
surgeons perform only complex facial procedures, while plastic surgeons will
work on any area of the body.
Another important difference is training.
Plastic surgeons are required to have 5-6 years of residency in general plastic
surgery. Facial plastic surgeons must undergo four years of ENT training and an
additional 1-2 years in facial plastic surgery fellowship. Because of this,
many general plastic surgeons can receive additional training to be
double-certified in facial plastic surgery.
ENT surgeons who are certified by the ABMS, or
the American Board of Medical Specialties, can also be double-certified in
facial plastic surgery. Facial plastic surgeons certified by the ABMS
and the ABFPRS may perform surgery
anywhere on the head or neck that doesn’t involve the brain or teeth. Does It Matter Who I Choose?
As long as you choose a board-certified doctor
with an excellent track record who helps you feel comfortable before your
operation, you should have a good plastic surgery experience. However, a facial
plastic surgeon offers more specialized expertise when it comes to facial
procedures. For this reason, you might want to consider a facial plastic
surgeon for any plastic surgery that will be performed on your head or neck.
Rhinoplasty, one of the most difficult
cosmetic surgeries to perform, is an example of a procedure that is best
performed by a facial plastic surgeon. The complexity of the nasal structures,
along with the nose’s key role in facial balance make rhinoplasty an extremely
Also, the end result must be functional so that
the patient can breathe while still seeing aesthetic improvement. A general
plastic surgeon has the knowledge to perform this procedure, but a facial
plastic surgeon will have more experience and skill.
Surgeries Performed by Facial Plastic
Whether the goal is to improve function or
aesthetics, facial plastic surgeons can perform the following procedures:
Brow lift Facelift Neck lift Chin reduction/augmentation Blepharoplasty Botox/fillers Lip enhancement Rhinoplasty Scar revision
Note that this is a partial list of surgeries,
and it doesn’t take into account any new techniques made possible through
medical research and advancement. Again, a general plastic surgeon can perform
these services as well. Some people feel more comfortable consulting a facial
plastic surgeon, especially considering all the different procedures and
Choosing a Facial Plastic Surgeon
If you’re not sure where to start when it
comes to choosing a surgeon, you’re not alone. Luckily, Buckingham Center can
help. Buckingham Center specializes in facial plastic surgery, so you’re in the
right hands whether you’re getting a facelift or a chemical peel.
Renowned facial plastic surgeon Dr. Edward
Buckingham can help you find the right treatment for your needs. If you’re
finally ready to put your best face forward, don’t hesitate to contact us at
BuckinghamFacialPlastics.com to schedule your
consultation in Austin, TX today.