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What’s the difference between Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery Board Certifications?

Plastic surgery is a medical specialty devoted to repair or reconstruction of dysfunctional or damaged areas of the face and body caused by trauma, disease, burns or birth defects. To become a plastic surgeon, doctors, in general, must fulfill a general surgery residency plus a 2-year plastic surgery residency. Training requirements set forth by the American Board of Plastic Surgery cover 6 areas:

  • Disorders
  • Congenital defect repair
  • Trauma surgery
  • Reconstructive surgery
  • Hand surgery
  • Cosmetic surgery

Graduation requirements include 55 cosmetic surgery cases, not necessarily in all areas of cosmetic surgery.  

Cosmetic Surgery is a sub-specialty devoted to enhancing aesthetic appearance of normally functioning areas of the body. To become a cosmetic surgeon, doctors must complete training in a specialty such as general surgery, otolaryngology, head and neck surgery or plastic surgery. Then they must fulfill a a one- or two-year fellowship, where training focuses entirely on the 5 categories of cosmetic surgery procedures:

  • Tummy tuck
  • Liposuction
  • Breast surgery
  • Face surgery
  • Other cosmetic surgeries

Graduation requirements require at least 300 cosmetic surgery cases.


What is board certification?

Both plastic and cosmetic surgeons who have met all the above requirements are eligible to take an oral and written examination to formally confirm their knowledge. These exams are administered by their respective professional boards, so if the surgeon passes they become “board certified.”   It is particularly important to note that not all surgeons are board certified, and even board-certified surgeons have varying levels of actual experience with different procedures. Furthermore, any licensed doctor can legally perform cosmetic surgery. Patients considering a cosmetic surgical procedure should thoroughly investigate the surgeon’s education and experience.  

At Southern Surgical Arts, we are proud to focus exclusively on cosmetic surgery.

Our cosmetic surgeons bring extensive training, experience and personal talent to every procedure, one patient at a time.  

A trained artist as well as a cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Carey Nease is certified by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the American Board of Otolaryngology. He has performed more than 8,000 cosmetic surgical procedures.  

Known for his comprehensive knowledge of human anatomy, Dr. Chad Deal is certified by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery and also the American Board of Surgery. He has performed more than 4,000 cosmetic surgical procedures.

Dr. Vincent Gardner is certified by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, the American Board of Surgery, and the American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine.    

Dr. Deal, Dr. Gardner, and Dr. Nease are widely respected in their field. They regularly share their professional expertise by training other surgeons from around the world, as part of Southern Surgical Arts’ American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery Fellowship Program.  

Our cosmetic surgeons and our entire staff and Southern Surgical Arts are committed to offering the highest quality procedures and care for our patients, using the latest techniques and technologies that protect patient safety while delivering outstanding results.

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