Plastic Surgeon Vs Dermatologist

The Blog
Dr. Jude LaBarbera, MD Plastic Surgeon


Plastic Surgeon Vs Dermatologist

It is not uncommon for patients who are looking for a plastic surgeon to wonder whether a dermatologist might be the better choice. This is more so true especially when the objective is to address skin imperfections such as wrinkles, folds, and laxity. It is important to understand that these are two separate career paths and knowing the difference can help you select the most appropriate practitioner for the job.

Roles of a Dermatologist Vs Plastic Surgeon

A dermatologist is a medical specialist who is trained in skin care. For this reason, they typically offer treatments and solutions to help improve the appearance of your skin or hair. Most dermatologists primarily offer non-invasive treatment options such as injectables and dermal fillers. They boast an expansive comprehension of skin care.
A plastic surgeon, on the other hand, is a professional who specializes in cosmetic surgical or reconstructive treatments. They primarily offer surgical treatments such as facelifts, liposuction, tummy tuck, breast augmentation, and more. In addition to these, plastic surgeons may also offer non-surgical treatments such as dermal fillers and injectables.

Plastic surgeon vs dermatologist: core competences

If you are wondering whether to work with a plastic surgeon or a dermatologist, understanding their key areas of competence can help. The main differences can be identified based on their range of skills and understanding of anatomy and aesthetics.

  • Anatomy – plastic surgeons tend to have a deeper understanding of facial anatomy, including structures such as the bones, overlying muscles, and other tissue that contribute to a certain outer appearance. As a result, plastic surgeons may be better suited to address facial imperfections, ranging from deep folds to a crooked nose or even unsightly scarring.
  • Aesthetics – when it comes to aesthetics, plastic surgeons typically have more extensive training. For this reason, they are better positioned to achieve more pleasing results with diverse procedures ranging from facelift to injectables and dermal fillers.
  • Skills – dermatologists have key skills usually revolving around non-invasive skin care techniques. Plastic surgeons, on the other hand, specialize in both non-invasive and surgical cosmetic procedures. They may thus be better placed to perform an extensive range of procedures including the likes of weight loss surgery, abdominoplasty, and Brazilian butt lift.

Why a plastic surgeon might be a better choice than a dermatologist

When there is a skin problem, most people will go to a dermatologist. However, it happens that plastic surgeons may be the better choice if you are looking to enhance your appearance and alleviate aesthetic concerns. The good thing with plastic surgeons is that they have intense training in both surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures. Below is a summary of reasons you may benefit more by working with a plastic surgeon as opposed to a dermatologist:

  • Superior understanding of anatomy and facial structures
  • Specialization in both surgery and non-invasive cosmetic treatments
  • Intense training allows plastic surgeons to handle complex aesthetic imperfections
  • Plastic surgeons primarily focus on improving aesthetics and appearance

How do I choose the right plastic surgeon?

When looking for a plastic surgeon, it is important to make sure that you select the right professional. Start by looking for certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). This is an independent national body that ensures that certified plastic surgeons adhere to the highest standards of safety, quality, and professionalism. Membership with professional organizations such as the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) is another sign of a professionally-committed plastic surgeon. Start by researching online to find qualified plastic surgeons in your area then attend a one-on-one consultation to ask important questions and assess the surgeon’s style and approach.