The difference between Cosmetic Surgeon and Plastic Surgeon

There is no shortage of people trying to recruit patients for cosmetic plastic surgery. The internet, radio, tv, and print media are filled with ads for liposuction, lasers, breast and body surgery promising expert results. To the untrained eye, they all look the same, so how can you choose the best Seattle Plastic Surgeon?

There is only one board that certifies plastic surgeons, and that is The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). I include a copy of their logo below. The other is the logo for The American Society of Plastic Surgeons, for which membership requires board certification. Any Board Certified Plastic Surgeon will use these same terms and logos, and you can check membership at to be sure.

The term “Board Certified Surgeon” really means a surgical specialty like General Surgery or Vascular Surgery. “Facial Plastic Surgeon” indicates training in ENT, not plastic surgery. “Oculoplastic Surgeon” means it is an eye doctor. If you see “Board Certified Doctor”, it is a nonsurgical physician, such as a dermatologist, Ob/Gyn, internist, rehab medicine, or any other. “Board Certified Cosmetic Surgeon” indicates a certification by the AACS or American Academy of Cosmetic Surgeons, which is not a board recognized by the ABMS. Terms like liposuction expert or laser doctor do not tell you anything about training.

It is not illegal for any doctor with a license to do any procedures he/she wishes, as long as he/she does not lie about their training. You as the educated consumer must make sure you are comfortable with the training of your doctor. Ask them what specialty they did there residency training in, and what board certified them. Do not be embarrasses, as it is important for you to know.

So, look for the logos and Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, check the website, and if there is any doubt, ask “Are you a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon?” The only answer should be yes.

Is Smart Lipo smart for you?

For the last year, there has been a lot of hype surrounding Smart Lipo, a laser assisted liposuction technique that has since had other companies produce machines like Slim Lipo among others. The marketing plan of the company is certainly smart, promising direct advertising to the public and referrals to all the doctors who buy the machine from them. Because they sell them all over the country, they can afford a national ad campaign, and it results in patients for anyone who has the machine. The real question is does it offer benefits for you the patient?
As of my writing of the blog today, I am not aware of any convincing long term study that shows improved results over traditional liposuction. I am aware of many cases of skin burns and permanent contour irregularities as a result of inexperienced doctors performing Smart Lipo. Let me explain why.

The company that sells the machine wants to sell as many machines as possible. They will sell to any doctor, regardless of his/her training or certification. That means your ob/gyn, family practitioner, or internist who wants to make money can buy the machine and get the referrals as a Smart Lipo expert. The only training they get is to watch a doctor do it in his office before doing it on their own. Additionally, laser assisted liposuction has a much higher complication rate of burns and fluid collections.

This is not to say that the procedure is bad- the major problems are with the doctors. As in my prior blog entry “Is your cosmetic surgeon a plastic surgeon?”, never assume just because a doctor does cosmetic surgery that he is a board certified plastic surgeon. Ask “Are you certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?” if you want to be sure.

In my opinion, Smart Lipo is smart for the doctor, not the patient. You pay more for a riskier procedure that is possibly done by a less well trained physician with no benefit of better results. Just because something is new and well advertised does not make it better. Be a smart consumer and do your homework.

Twitter and Plastic Surgery

For the last 2 years, I have been tweeting nearly every day from @DrJYager. Being new to the format, it took a while to figure out what the people want. Is it tips on skin care and anti-aging? Is it the latest new technologies and procedures in cosmetic plastic surgery? Is it special offers or events new from Yager Esthetics? I tried them all.

What I have found in my recent survey is that people just want to learn a little something about me, their potential plastic surgeon. What I like to do, what my interests are, what else I do when I am not in the office. Getting a feel for my personality seems to be what the patients like best.

I have tweeted about my musical group, music I enjoy, and concerts I have seen. I have tweeted about the weather, Latin cultural events, and movies I have recently enjoyed (or didn’t enjoy). I have let people know about restaurants and foods that I enjoy, and have told a few jokes along the way.

I do also mention important events in the office, television interviews and magazine articles when they come out, and sometimes share new products and services we offer at Yager Esthetics.

So follow me on twitter @DrJYager, and get to know your plastic surgeon a little bit better. New friends are always welcome.

The Modified Abdominoplasty at Yager Esthetics

There are no Plastic surgeons I am aware of who do as many Tummy Tucks as I do. I have done as many as 200 in a single year. I have done in excess of 1500 Abdominoplasties in my private practice. These have all been what are known as Full Abdominoplasties, where the muscles are tightened from the ribs all the way down, and the belly button is inset in a new opening. Until last year, I had only done 2 Modified Abdominoplasties.

A Modified Abdominoplasty leaves the belly button attached to the skin, and moves it lower down where it is reattached under the skin, so no scar exists around it. It is for when the muscle needs to be tightened and there is a minimal amount of loose skin. Very few patients were good candidates.

Where I have used it three times this year is in patients who have had Tummy Tucks done before, and the problem is a high scar or inadequate muscle tightening. As long as the belly button is not too low, it has been perfect.

That is the beauty of doing so many of these procedures. You can take a procedure which was created for a very few special cases and use it as a reconstructive salvage operation with fantastic improvements possible.