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For an individual to be considered as a “fully trained” plastic
surgeon, he or she should undergo specific formal training in the field
of plastic surgery, in addition to having completed their education at
a respected and accredited medical school.
In the United States of America a residency in the field of plastic surgery
should be at least two years in length. This residency should only be
granted to an individual after he or she completes all prerequisite surgical
training such as a minimum four to five year surgical residency in another
field of speciality or in general surgical techniques. However, it would
not say much for a surgeon to have three years of surgical training if
all three years were in different fields of speciality and all at the
first year level. Having multiple years of progressive training is an
important factor in the training of a plastic surgeon.
This means that a qualified surgeon should have a bare minimum of six
or seven years of additional training after graduation from medical school.
Plastic surgery should be considered a serious discipline just like any
other area of surgical speciality. The same knowledge of human anatomy
is required of competent plastic surgeons just like any other surgical
discipline. The same risks also apply in regards to anesthesia as with
any type of surgical procedure.
Unfortunately it is legal for physicians to practice as plastic surgeons
without the training mentioned above. It wasn’t until recent years
that hospitals began requiring formal residency training for plastic surgeons
on their staffs. Physicians may still practice plastic surgery privately
without having completed anything close to a five year residency training
in plastic surgery or in some cases without residency training in any
area of surgical speciality. That is not to say that such individuals
are not good doctors or even good plastic surgeons, but when considering
plastic surgery for any reason one should be aware of the level of training
each surgeon he or she is considering has completed. Weekend courses and
other short term programs do not make competent plastic surgeons. This
is not to say that such training programs aren’t good for plastic
surgeons to take, but they should not be the only medical and/or surgical
education that an individual surgeon has completed.