There are some educational requirements to become a plastic surgeon, and then there are some personality aspects that are important to become a plastic surgeon. The personality requirements are only my opinion, so other plastic surgeons may have different thoughts. The personality traits will be discussed in tomorrow’s blog post.
In terms of education, it takes a long time to become a plastic surgeon. The basic educational requirements are
– college degree
– medical degree
– some type of plastic surgery training
– 3 years minimum of general surgery/ full residency in ENT, orthopedics, neurosurgery, or urology. The vast majority of plastic surgeons have done general surgery in their training.
– 2 years minimum of plastic surgery training
– there are some programs that match you from medical school directly into plastic surgery training, and these are typically 3-4 years of general surgery training and 2-3 years of plastic surgery training
– OPTIONAL TRAINING- 1-3 years of additional training in various fellowships, including hand surgery, breast surgery, aesthetic surgery, burn surgery, microvascular surgery, craniofacial surgery, and research fellowships
After your formal education, you still have to become board certified in Plastic Surgery. Board Certification is a comprehensive and difficult written and oral exam, with fiendishly difficult questions devised by other plastic surgeons. Only after passing those tests can you say you’re a board certified plastic surgeon.
Once you’re board certified, you will probably want to have continuing education to learn about the latest trends in plastic surgery. The 2 biggest organizations are the ASPS/ American Society of Plastic Surgeons, and ASAPS/ American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
Despite the hype about cosmetic surgery, most plastic surgeons do a substantial amount of reconstructive surgery. Virtually all plastic surgeons have donated surgery in the form of operating on the uninsured or working overseas on medical missions. Plastic surgery encompasses working on males and females, young and old, and on many different areas of the body and face. It’s a unique field, and it’s fun (at least for me, and possibly for the patients occasionally) to be able to do different surgical procedures on different anatomic areas.
Becoming a plastic surgeon is a long road, but in the end, a lot of fun and truly rewarding. I am privileged to be a board certified plastic surgeon, and I realize how fortunate I am to be able to do something that I actually love and have a passion for. I hope this article reveals the hard work involved in becoming a plastic surgeon.
American Board of Plastic Surgery– www.abplsurg.org/
ASPS/ American Society of Plastic Surgeons– www.plasticsurgery.org/
ASAPS/ American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery– www.surgery.org