Cosmetic Dermatologist and Cosmetic Surgeon: Is There a Difference?

Cosmetic dermatology, cosmetic surgery and dermatology are three terms that are normally used interchangeably. True, most practitioners fall within a branch of medical science called general dermatology, but the difference lies in their specialization. General dermatology is four-year specialization course that doctors of medicine may study to become a dermatologist. Dermatologist may pursue further sub-specialization in cosmetic dermatology and/or cosmetic surgery to focus more on maintenance, restoration and improvement of the appearance of the skin and the physical features of the human body.

To become a dermatologist a medical degree (MD) or doctor of osteopathy (DO) is required. A one year internship in general surgery or other broad-based clinical training and three years of dermatology residency are part of the requirements to become one Pashop VN  . After satisfying these requirements they have to pass the written and practical skill test given by the American Board of Dermatologists for certification. The test is re-taken every 10 years to maintain the certification’s validity. Additional sub-specialization though fellowship program are available to certified dermatologist.

Cosmetic surgery is a sub-specialization of cosmetic dermatology that dermatologist can pursue. In most cases, cosmetic surgeons are dermatologists; however, cosmetic surgery is also a specialized program of plastic surgery which can be taken by doctors who are through with their three-year general surgery residency. This is the reason why cosmetic surgeons are not necessarily dermatologists.

Although most of the general surgeons specializing in plastic surgery normally focus on restorative procedures (functional surgery), there are some that also practice cosmetic surgery (aesthetic surgery). Cosmetic surgeons need to pass the National Board Exam for Plastic surgeons before they can apply for certification from their specific State.

Cosmetic dermatology on the other hand is a sub- specialization open only to dermatologist. Cosmetic dermatologists are also called dermasurgeons. They may undergo special training on laser resurfacing, dermabrasion, microdermabrasion, dermal fillers, chemical peels, tissue augmentation, facial liposuction and sclerotherapy.

The American Board of Dermatology prescribes the requirement on the time and courses that must be satisfied for them to become a specialist on a certain field. Once they pass the requirements, they are eligible to become member of the American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery, and be a full pledge dermasurgeon.

Dermatologist can go for different sub-specialization such as dermatopathology, imunodermatology, phototherapy, etc. but the most popular is cosmetic dermatology. That is why, the titles cosmetic surgeon, cosmetic dermatologist and dermatologist is sometimes difficult to differentiate. One sure way of knowing which is which, is by checking on their certifications.

Cosmetic surgery procedures such as liposuction, blepharoplasty, breast implant and removal, and so on may be done by cosmetic dermatologist and plastic surgeon for as long as they have the proper training and certification from the state board. Some of the less invasive procedures on botox, filler and laser surgery can be performed by general dermatologist. These procedures are included in their training. Certifications for specific procedures are being issued by the American Board of Dermatology, and for as long as they have these certifications then you can be sure that they are experts in that particular field.

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