Health Care Providers: Plastic Surgeons
en español: Profesionales de la salud: Cirujanos plásticos
What Is Plastic Surgery?
Plastic surgery is a surgical specialty that focuses on improving how parts of the body look or work.
What Is a Plastic Surgeon?
A plastic surgeon is a doctor who does surgery to repair, rebuild, or replace a part of the body to improve how it looks or works.
Why Would Someone Need One?
Plastic surgeons can help with:
- burn repair surgery
- a congenital (present at birth) problem repair, such as for cleft palate or ear anomalies
- hand surgery
- scar revision (to make a scar less noticeable)
- breast-reduction surgery
- cosmetic surgery, such as reshaping the nose or pinning back the ears so they don’t stick out
- gender reassignment surgery (when someone feels their body doesn't match their gender identity)
What Is Their Training?
Plastic surgeon training typically includes:
- 4 years of pre-medical education at a college or university
- 4 years of medical school — a medical degree (MD) or doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) degree
- 5 years in a residency program in general surgery, orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, urology, oral surgery, or otolaryngology (ENT) surgery, followed by a 3-year plastic surgery residency program
They also might have:
- training in a subspecialty — such as plastic surgery of the head and neck, or hand surgery — which requires a fellowship. A “fellow” is a doctor who had more specialty training after completing medical school and residency training.
Good to Know
Many plastic surgeons give treatments that don’t involve surgery. For example, they may do laser treatments for birthmarks and skin treatments for acne.
Date reviewed: September 2022