Learn How to Become a Plastic Surgeon

plastic surgeon

Plastic surgeons improve the cosmetic aspects of the human body. They perform surgeries to reconstruct the damaged features. And repair congenital problems like malformed bone structures in hands or feet. They help people born with congenital disabilities like cleft lips, ear deformities, etc.

How to Become a Plastic Surgeon

Unlike other surgeons, plastic surgeons don’t own a disease. They work all over the body and on all kinds of conditions. They acquire particular skills and knowledge. A plastic surgeon should know a patient’s complete medical history.

Plastic surgery is not a medical solution for the rich alone. Many times it is needed to reconstruct the face of an infant born with defects, burn, and accident victims. Plastic surgeons should have good hand-eye coordination. They work with patients who have chosen the surgery to improve cosmetic flaws.

Plastic Surgeon Job Description

The plastic surgeon’s job is to help patients improve their physical features for aesthetic or reconstructive purposes. They practice surgical and non-surgical procedures. Surgical services include reshaping the nose, liposuction, body contouring, etc. Non-surgical services include administering Botox injections, laser resurfacing to remove warts, birthmarks, etc.

Plastic surgeons are medical practitioners who perform surgeries to reconstruct damaged or malformed features. They alter and shape various parts of the human body. For instance, if someone wants to enhance the look of their nose or lips, they seek a plastic surgeon’s help.

Plastic surgeons have licensed doctors specialized in restoring any parts of the patient’s body. The surgery takes place as per the patient’s needs and requests. Some standard cosmetic procedures a plastic surgeon performs are breast augmentations, liposuction, body contouring, nose reshaping, etc.

Plastic surgeons perform reconstructive procedures to repair the function and the shape of a body part that includes cleft lip, craniofacial trauma, etc. They inform the patients of the risk associated with the surgery. And follow up on patients post-surgery to track the healing process.

Plastic Surgeon Requirements

A plastic surgeon must be focused and have good stamina as they have to remain standing for many hours while performing complex surgeries. They should possess strong communication skills since surgeons should work and demonstrate empathy with their patients. Change in lifestyle and modernization has made people conscious of their physical appearance. The latest technology and procedure has made it easy with plastic surgery.

Steps in Becoming a Plastic Surgeon

Step 1: Get a Bachelor’s Degree

A plastic surgeon education is a four-year bachelor’s degree. Medical schools demand all the desiring plastic surgeons to complete premedical courses during a student’s undergraduate years. It includes organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, physics, and biology. Before graduating, a medical student should also take MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test).

Step 2: Graduate from a Medical School

A student attending traditional allopathy medical school will receive an M.D degree while a student attending osteopathic medical school will receive a D.O (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) degree.

Step 3: Get a License.

All medical practitioners must obtain a license to practice in the United States. In the case of an M.D, a surgeon must pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination. Likewise, if you are a D.O, then you must pass the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Exam.

[ Also Read: How to become a Neurosurgeon]

Step 4: Get a Plastic Surgery Residency

A licensed physician has two options for plastic surgery training. They can either complete three years in a general surgery residency. Or can complete a six-year integrated residency that includes both types of training.

Step 5: Complete a Fellowship in a Subspecialty

Complete a one-year fellowship program if you are planning to concentrate on a subspecialty of plastic surgery. Fellowships offer practical insight into new plastic surgeons.

Step 6: Plastic Surgeon Certification & License

Physicians are required to take a standard national license exam. M.D candidates should pass the USMLE (U.S Medical Licensing Exam). D.O candidates should pass the COMLEX -USA (Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Exam). A physician should be certified by the ABPS (American Board of Plastic Surgery). For this, a physician should complete a course of five to eight years of training after graduating from a medical school.

How Much Does a Plastic Surgeon Make

Wages for physicians and surgeons are one of the highest of all professions. As per the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the Median salary for plastic surgeons as of 2019 is $263,694, with 7% of job growth for all physicians and surgeons. Plastic surgeon’s wages of those employed at hospitals are between $ 33 and $ 60 per hour.

According to research by the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment growth of a plastic surgeon in the United States has been estimated to be a 14% increase between 2014-2024.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Plastic Surgeon

Plastic surgeon school includes at least 13 years of education. Along with that, it also consists of four years of undergraduate education, four years of medical school, five years of residency, and one year of fellowship and training under an experienced plastic surgeon.

Plastic surgeons(1) are professionals with challenging duties. They should be skilled in counseling patients as well.