How to Become a Plastic Surgeon

Here are the typical steps to follow to become a plastic surgeon:
  1. Obtain a bachelor’s degree.
  2. Complete a four-year doctor of medicine degree.
  3. Obtain a license.
  4. Complete residency.
  5. Complete a fellowship in a subspecialty.
  6. Obtain certification.
  7. Apply for jobs.

Here is the latest article in the So You Want to Be series. In this series, we highlight a particular medical specialty, like plastic surgery, and assist you in determining if it’s a good fit for you. The complete list is available on our So You Want to Be playlist. In the previous video, many of you requested information on plastic surgery, so we’re covering that topic here.

So you want to be a plastic surgeon. Perhaps you enjoy the thought of earning millions, working with famous people, and getting facelifts and boob jobs, but hold your horses. We’re going to dispel the myths that the general public has about what it means to be a plastic surgeon and give you the truth. We’ll help you determine if plastic surgery is a good field for you by explaining the reality of the field.

No, and never say those words again: “Plastic surgery is all about using plastic to make people look pretty.” The word “plastic” derives from the Greek verb “plastikos,” which means “to mold,” in reference to how tissues are reshaped and manipulated during plastic surgery. In general, orthopedic surgeons deal with bones; plastic surgeons, however, concentrate on soft tissue, such as skin, muscle, and fat.

More types of plastic surgery exist than you probably realize. The majority of actual surgical procedures in plastic surgery are reconstructive in nature, but the public is most familiar with aesthetic, or cosmetic, plastic surgery that has been made popular by celebrities and showbiz. In 2018, there were 5. 8 million reconstructive surgical procedures in the U. S. , compared to only 1. 8 million cosmetic surgical procedures. However, minimally invasive nonsurgical cosmetic procedures like botox or fillers are very common. In 2018 alone, there were 15. 9 million nonsurgical cosmetic procedures.

What distinguishes cosmetic plastic surgery from reconstructive plastic surgery is that the former involves improving one’s appearance. The most common cosmetic surgical procedures are liposuction, rhinoplasty (also known as “nose reshaping”), blepharoplasty (also known as “eyelid surgery”), and abdominoplasty (also known as “tummy tuck”). Botox injections, soft tissue fillers, chemical peels, laser hair removal, and microdermabrasion are the most widely used nonsurgical cosmetic procedures.

Reconstructive plastic surgery (recon) has a much wider range of applications and, in my opinion, is much more fascinating. Reconstruction (recon) refers to the surgical procedures used to treat physical abnormalities of the face and body that may result from birth defects (such as cleft lip or cleft palate), trauma (such as soft tissue reconstruction for severe traumatic injuries), disease (such as breast reconstruction after mastectomy for breast cancer), or aging. With novel procedures like face and hand transplants and gender reassignment surgeries that are so convincing you wouldn’t believe it, plastic surgery is at the forefront of medical innovation.

The first surgical procedure I witnessed was an animated latissimus dorsi transfer, in which we used a patient’s lat muscle to create a temporary elbow flexor. The patient was able to train themselves to bend their elbow by concentrating on engaging their latissimus dorsi muscle thanks to the wonders of neuroplasticity in the brain. On my YouTube channel, Kevin Jubbal, M.D., I go into more detail about this first case and how I developed a love for plastic surgery. D.

Another of my favorites was performing a nerve graft to treat hemifacial paralysis caused by Bell’s palsy. In short, one side of the patient’s face was paralyzed; to reanimate it, we used microsurgical techniques to harvest the sural nerve from her leg and graft it to their face. I know. Straight science fiction.

There are benefits and drawbacks to both cosmetic and reconstructive procedures, but one isn’t necessarily superior to the other. I was obviously fascinated by the intricate recon, and I would occasionally make fun of my colleague who worked in the cosmetics industry by saying that at least I’m trying to do good rather than just get rich quick. They responded, “We’re also improving the world, one pair of breasts at a time,” in response. ”.

As they are the most trusted by other surgical specialists, plastic surgeons are referred to as “surgeon’s surgeons” in hospitals. The plastic surgeons are consulted whenever a neurosurgeon, urologist, general surgeon, orthopedic surgeon, otolaryngologist, or any other surgeon needs assistance with complex coverage and reconstruction. Plastic surgery is unlike any other surgical specialty because it is not body part specific. They can work on any area of the body, including the eyelids, genitalia, hands, and feet.

So You Want to Be a PLASTIC SURGEON [Ep. 4]

How to become a plastic surgeon

An established plastic surgeon may need to complete more than ten years of formal education. Given the high skill level and risks involved with the job, this extensive preparation is required. The typical steps to take in order to become a plastic surgeon are as follows:

1. Obtain a bachelors degree

A plastic surgeons education begins with a bachelors degree. Ideal programs include biology, physics and chemistry. Pre-med programs are provided by some schools to help you get ready for medical school. You will need to take math, physics, chemistry, and biology courses if you decide to pursue a pre-med degree. Your school might offer a pre-med program or track that focuses on advising and test preparation if it doesn’t offer a pre-med degree.

You must pass the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) and submit letters of recommendation from mentors, professors, reputable physicians, or members of the community in order to be accepted into a medical school. When applying to medical schools, showcasing leadership abilities, working in a hospital, and attending various medical conferences can all be advantages.

2. Complete a four-year doctor of medicine degree

You must hold a doctor of medicine (M. D. ) or doctor of osteopathy (D. O. ) degree before you can take part in post-graduate plastic surgery training The M. D. or D. O. program generally takes four years to complete. Take advanced courses in anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, microbiology, and pathology during your first two years of medical school. Clinical rotations, which take place over the course of the final two years, will give you experience working closely with patients.

3. Obtain a license

In the U. S. obtaining a medical license is necessary before you can legally perform plastic surgery. To obtain a license, you must pass the U. S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). If you are a doctor of osteopathic medicine (D. O. To become an osteopathic physician, you must pass the COMLEX exam. Each of the three sections of the USMLE and COMLEX tests how well you can apply fundamental and cutting-edge scientific ideas to the practice of medicine.

4. Complete residency

After receiving your medical license, you must complete a three-year residency in general surgery that includes clinical rotations in various surgical specialties. After that, you can enroll in a three-year plastic surgery residency that requires you to rotate through the plastic surgery departments of various hospitals and practices.

A plastic surgery residency program may cover cosmetic procedures for the breast, neck, and head as well as head, facial, and burn surgery. It may also cover skin grafting and surgery. Additionally, it might discuss the connection between fundamental science and surgical techniques, wound healing, emergency care, and fluid replacement. You might also need to participate in journal clubs, attend conferences, gain teaching experience, conduct research, and dissect cadavers as part of the program.

5. Complete a fellowship in a subspecialty

You could finish a one-year fellowship program in plastic surgery if you want to specialize in one of its subspecialties. Several fields, including aesthetic surgery, microvascular reconstructive surgery, body sculpting, craniofacial surgery, and hand surgery, offer fellowships. Along with completing your specialty’s clinical training, you might also need to complete a research project. The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) offers voluntary subspecialty certification in hand, neck, and head surgery to allopathic plastic surgeons.

6. Acquire certification

A plastic surgeon’s exceptional expertise in a particular medical specialty or subspecialty is demonstrated by their board certification. A plastic surgeon needs to have a number of certifications, including the following:

With this certification, you can prove that you’ve gone above and beyond the minimal requirements for obtaining a license in terms of training and education. You need to have a medical license and pass an oral and written test to obtain this certification. You must enroll in the extensive ABMS Program, a continuous professional development course, in order to keep this certification.

One of the 24 specialty boards recognized by the ABMS is this one. You must complete the required coursework, pass in-depth oral and written exams that cover every aspect of plastic surgery, and earn this certification.

What does a plastic surgeon do?

An operation by a plastic surgeon alters the appearance or shape of a patient’s body. These qualified medical professionals also perform reconstructive surgeries on patients who have facial and body abnormalities brought on by trauma, disease, birth defects, or aging in addition to cosmetic procedures like facelifts and nose jobs.

The specific procedures plastic surgeons perform depend on their specialty. For example, craniomaxillofacial surgeons identify and treat people with conditions that affect the face, neck, jaws, and mouth. Cosmetic surgeons may perform liposuction or breast augmentations. On patients with burn injuries, burn surgeons may remove dead skin, graft new skin, and try to minimize scarring.

Other duties and responsibilities of a plastic surgeon include:

FAQs about plastic surgeons

The following are some of the usual inquiries about plastic surgeons:

What does a plastic surgeons work environment look like?

In addition to community and academic hospitals, trauma wards, private practices, multi-specialty practices, and outpatient clinics are among the settings where plastic surgeons operate. They typically work more than 40 hours per week performing surgery and other related tasks. As with all operations, plastic surgeons collaborate with a group of medical professionals to complete a procedure.

Emergency surgeries may also be performed by plastic surgeons on short notice. They typically operate in pristine, well-lit spaces like an operating room in a hospital. They also teach or train future plastic surgeons in medical schools.

Some plastic surgeons prefer to work alone, as it gives them more autonomy and control. However, it can be difficult and time-consuming to attract and keep patients. Additionally, compared to a group practice where expenses are shared, the costs of maintaining a private practice can be significantly higher.

What skills are necessary to become a successful plastic surgeon?

Aspiring plastic surgeons typically need the following traits to succeed in this position:

Anyone performing medical procedures such as stitching wounds or severing blood vessels requires manual dexterity, hand-eye coordination, and attention to detail. Under pressure, you should be able to maintain composure and maintain a very steady hand.

When performing surgery, plastic surgeons collaborate with nurses, assistants, anesthesiologists, and other medical specialists; therefore, they must be excellent team players and be able to acknowledge how everyone contributes to a successful procedure.

Because they depend on the assistance of other medical professionals to complete surgery, surgeons need excellent communication abilities to ensure a successful procedure. They should be able to communicate openly and professionally with their team.

Like in any other medical specialty, not every surgical procedure goes as planned. To avoid seriously endangering the lives of their patients, plastic surgeons should be able to solve issues quickly and effectively.

These skills help surgeons get through grueling operations. Plastic surgeons must maintain focus throughout the duration of surgery, which typically lasts five to six hours, to prevent fatal errors.

How many steps are there in the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE)?

The USMLE is a three-step program. The first step evaluates your scientific knowledge as it relates to medicine and is typically taken at the conclusion of your second year of medical school. At the conclusion of medical school, the second step is typically taken. Each of the two parts takes about a day to complete. The second step involves questions and patient simulations that test your clinical expertise and knowledge. Typically, the third step is taken following your first year of residency. A two-day exam will test your capacity to provide unsupervised patient care through questions and simulations.


How fast can you become a plastic surgeon?

“To ensure the very best patient outcomes, becoming an ASAPS plastic surgeon requires many years of training and an ongoing commitment to stay current in research and surgical techniques.” One of the most difficult specialties a doctor can practice is plastic surgery, but it is also without a doubt one of the most rewarding. ”—Dr.

Are plastic surgeons rich?

How long does it take to become a plastic surgeon? It takes about 14 years to complete all steps, from premed to final licensure.

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