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Cosmetic surgery and medicine

These days there are lots of wrong notions as to cosmetic surgery, especially the difference between cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery not only for doctors but also for patients. The KCCS will try to do away with prejudice towards cosmetic medicine and develop it as a professional field through letting all the people know and distinguish the difference.

Now two representative countries that have regular educational programs especially in the field of cosmetic surgery all over the world are US(www.cosmeticsurgery.com) and Australia(www.accs.org.au). Their educational systems have a history of 20 years and 10 years respectively. But there is no certificate or license that is officially recognized by their governmental organizations yet. There are only a few professional membership and certificate of medical specialist recognized by medical institutes themselves. Currently these two institutes are making every effort to get officially recognized by their governments, operating systematic training programs for protecting patients safely and raising doctors' standards.

Cosmetic medicine is divided into two fields. : Cosmetic surgery that uses surgical operations to improve external beauty, cosmetic internal medicine that uses nonsurgical treatment.  Particularly cosmetic surgery are competing strongly against existing plastic surgery that mainly gives reconstructive surgery. We can be sure, however, that there are big differences in the way of teaching as well as in definition as below.

The following is an explanation about the their differences of definition and the way of teaching extracted from the official web site of American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (www.cosmeticsurgery.com). This shows the fundamental object obviously that cosmetic surgery should be developed and established as a specialized course. And this is the same as the founding intent and education system of the KCCS
(1) What is the cosmetic surgery
(a) What is the difference between cosmetic and plastic surgery?

Cosmetic surgery is a unique discipline of medicine focused on enhancing appearance through surgical and medical techniques. Cosmetic surgery can be performed on all areas of the head, neck and body. Because treated areas function properly but lack aesthetic appeal, cosmetic surgery is elective.

Plastic surgery is defined as a surgical specialty dedicated to reconstruction of facial and body defects due to birth disorders, trauma, burns, and disease. Plastic surgery is intended to correct dysfunctional areas of the body and is reconstructive in nature.
(b) How does the education differ between a plastic surgeon and a cosmetic surgeon?

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 surgeon), 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 surgeons. After finishing medical school they complete a residency in plastic surgery, learning to treat defects of the face and body including tumors, cleft palates, deformities, handrepair and burn injuries. A physician may then become certified by the Korean 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 Korean Board of Cosmetic Surgery after gaining more experience.


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