As there is no residency program specifically focused on Cosmetic surgery, physicians who wish to pursue Cosmetic surgery have different backgrounds. First, a physician must go through medical school and a residency program, preferably in a surgical specialty such as general surgery, otolaryngology (head and neck surgery), dermatologic surgery or Plastic surgery. After proving competent in anatomy, physiology, pathology and basic sciences, a physician may attain board certification in their specialty and then continue their post-residency training specifically in Cosmetic surgery. This can be done through a fellowship program (a one-on-one observational and training program with an experienced Cosmetic surgery), as well as through workshops, seminars and lectures. Physicians with enough experience in Cosmetic surgery may choose to become certified by the American Board of Cosmetic surgery.

Plastic surgeons follow the same educational timeline as many Cosmetic surgery. After finishing medical school they comple a residency in Plastic surgery, learning to treat defects of the face and body including tumors, cleft palates, deformities, hand repair and burn injuries. A physician may then become certified by the American Board of Plastic surgery. At this point, a plastic surgeon may take the same steps as a general surgeon or dermatologic surgeon to gain experience in Cosmetic surgery – through a fellowship training program, workshops, seminars and lectures, and then become certified by the American Board of Cosmetic surgery after gaining more experience.

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