Patient Question:

What is the difference between a facial plastic surgeon and a (general) plastic surgeon?

Dr Solomon’s Answer:

Facial plastic surgeons perform cosmetic and reconstructive surgery on the face, head, and neck regions only. Training includes one or two years of post-graduate training in general surgery residency and at least four additional years of specialty training in head and neck surgery and facial plastic surgery. A general plastic surgeon performs both face and body procedures. Training in the United States includes three to five years in general surgery residency and two years of specialty training in all body areas. In Canada Plastic surgery residents now enter their residency directly after medical school. They then train in plastic surgery of the entire body of which a portion of there training is in facial procedures.

Clearly there is overlap in the two specialties as it related to facial surgery. This is expected as medical specialization has become more complex and different specialty groups may have subspecialty areas that overlap as in Facial Plastic Surgery.

Current North American surveys indicate that Facial Plastic Surgeons- Otolaryngologists perform more nasal plastic surgery as well as other facial procedures than any other surgical specialty.