What is the Difference Between a Plastic Surgeon and a Cosmetic Surgeon?

What is the Difference Between a Plastic Surgeon and a Cosmetic Surgeon?: Why You Should Always Choose a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon for Your Cosmetic Procedures

When you’ve made the decision to have plastic surgery, there are many details you will need to plan prior to your procedure. First and foremost, you need to find the best and most skilled surgeon to meet your unique needs. While this may seem like a simple task, it can be more complicated than many patients initially realize.

One common decision that patients encounter when choosing a doctor to perform their procedure is the choice between a cosmetic surgeon and a plastic surgeon. These two roles are often grouped together as if they were one and the same, but in reality, there are some important differences between these two types of surgeons.

Dr. Cat Begovic is a board-certified plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills. As a plastic surgeon, Dr. Cat has shown the ability to meet extensive industry standards and adhere to the certification requirements of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. These are just two of the critical factors that differentiate a plastic surgeon from a cosmetic surgeon.

Learn more about the distinct difference between a cosmetic surgeon and a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills in this guide.

What Is a Cosmetic Surgeon?

Cosmetic surgery is focused mainly on enhancing a patient’s appearance by improving symmetry, proportion, and overall aesthetic appeal. A cosmetic surgeon performs a variety of procedures, many of which are non-invasive or minimally invasive. This includes things like body contouring, dermal fillers, Botox, and skin rejuvenation treatments.

Cosmetic surgeons can also perform a limited range of surgical cosmetic procedures. Many cosmetic surgeons provide breast augmentations, liposuction, facelifts, tummy tucks, rhinoplasty, and breast lifts.

When a cosmetic surgeon performs these procedures, it is strictly to enhance aesthetic appeal. For example, cosmetic surgeons do not perform rhinoplasties to resolve breathing difficulties, but rather to improve the look of the nose. Since these procedures are based entirely on appearance, they are considered to be elective surgeries. They can be performed by a cosmetic surgeon or plastic surgeon, depending on the patient’s desires.

What Is a Plastic Surgeon?

dr cat begovic, plastic surgeon, in a white lab coat

Plastic surgery refers to a surgical specialty that is dedicated to reconstructing the anatomy for either medical or aesthetic purposes.

Plastic surgery is used to correct anatomical abnormalities like burns, scars, cleft palates, and birth defects, as well as to address the need for certain amputations.

While a cosmetic surgeon focuses strictly on aesthetics, a plastic surgeon focuses on how the patient’s anatomy affects their health and well-being. A plastic surgeon aims to reconstruct the anatomy, improving function and addressing certain medical concerns.

A plastic surgeon can perform all of the procedures that a cosmetic surgeon performs, including non-invasive procedures, minimally invasive treatments, and surgical options.

Plastic surgeons can perform all of the following cosmetic procedures and more:

What sets a plastic surgeon apart from a cosmetic surgeon is the focus on reconstruction and resolving anatomical abnormalities. This is why, on top of the numerous cosmetic procedures, plastic surgeons also perform the following reconstructive procedures:

  • Breast reconstructions
  • Burn repairs
  • Lower extremity reconstructions
  • Cleft palate repairs
  • Hand surgeries
  • Scar revision surgeries
  • Extremity defect repairs

When it comes to cosmetic procedures, the overlap between cosmetic surgeons and plastic surgeons is significant. However, plastic surgeons are considered to be a much better option because their focus on reconstructive surgery gives them more experience in the field.

The Differences Between a Cosmetic Surgeon and a Plastic Surgeon


plastic surgeon vs. cosmetic surgeon comparison chart

While cosmetic surgeons and plastic surgeons may perform a lot of the same procedures, there are significant differences between the two. These differences usually pertain to training and experience.

Here are a few of the main differences between cosmetic surgeons and plastic surgeons:

Surgical Residency

Because plastic surgeons focus on reconstructive surgery to resolve anatomical issues or certain medical concerns, they are required to complete a surgical residency before entering the field.

The minimum requirement for a residency program is six years. This residency requirement is not solely focused on cosmetic procedures. Instead, it encompasses a wide variety of surgeries.

Completing a surgical residency allows plastic surgeons to have more experience, which can make it safer for them to perform extensive cosmetic surgeries, including mommy makeovers and full tummy tucks.

Board Certification

Both plastic surgeons and cosmetic surgeons can be board-certified. With that being said, only plastic surgeons’ board certification is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialists.

This is because cosmetic surgeons are board-certified by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. This board does not include surgeons who perform medically-necessary procedures.

The certification that plastic surgeons obtain shows that they have met the necessary academic and performance standards required to perform safe, effective procedures.

Fellowships and Courses

Plastic surgeons are required to continue their education by taking ongoing courses, even after entering the field. This means that they remain up-to-date on current techniques, procedures, and approaches within the industry. They are also required to complete at least one year in a fellowship program prior to performing surgery.

National Society Membership

An important thing to look for when choosing a surgeon for your cosmetic procedure is whether they are recognized by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons or not. Having national society membership shows that this doctor has surpassed industry standards and showcased exceptional skill in the field.

Cosmetic surgeons are not part of this national society of surgeons.


In order to remain in good standing with the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, doctors must achieve recertification every ten years. This is not required of cosmetic surgeons.

Recertification should be an important factor to patients because it shows that their surgeon has maintained a long track record of high-quality work and continues to meet industry standards.

Before committing to a procedure with any surgeon, you should be assured that they have met these current standards.

Work with a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon in Beverly Hills

Dr. Cat Begovic is a board-certified plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills. As one of the leading plastic surgeons in the country, Dr. Cat provides a wide range of cosmetic procedures, both non-invasive and surgical. This includes body sculpting treatments, facelifts, breast augmentation, labiaplasty, tummy tucks, and more.

Being a female plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, her services are sought by patients who want to feel greater comfort with more intimate procedures, like vaginal rejuvenation and mommy makeovers.

Dr. Cat explains her commitment to the field of plastic surgery and the happiness of her patients here:

It has been a long and hard road to get to where I am and its a lot of work every day, but the light in my life is operating and taking care of my amazing patients.

The special relationships that I have with them and the immense gratification and appreciation I have for being able to improve their lives make all of the hard times worth it. 

For those who are thinking about a career in surgery or plastic surgery, do it only because you truly love it and because you truly believe its your calling in life. If you are doing it for the money, the idea of having the title, the glamour, or any other reason, it is not meant for you. Always choose a career that is the best for you and what you feel is your passion and love.” 

With years of experience in the field and a commitment to patient satisfaction, Dr. Cat stands out within the plastic surgery industry. She has earned numerous awards and accolades, including the Best of Beverly Hills award, which was given to her in three consecutive years for being the leading plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills.

With extensive expertise, Dr. Cat has developed her own specialized techniques and innovative approaches to many common procedures, which has allowed her to minimize recovery times and improve patient outcomes. Dr. Cat’s work is so renowned that patients travel from all over the world to have her perform their plastic surgery procedures.

To learn more about Dr. Cat’s work or to schedule a consultation, contact our office today.