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If you’ve always thought cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery were once the same, you’re not alone.
A significant number of plastic surgeons choose to focus their practice on cosmetic surgery, and as such, the terms are often used interchangeably. But this is not technically correct. Cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery are closely related specialties, but they are not the same.
Dr. Ching’s medical education and training placed a strong emphasis on developing the surgical skills needed to adopt the latest innovations. That philosophy guides Dr. Ching’s approach to plastic surgery today, creating results that look natural and beautiful by combining his experience and talent with the latest devices and innovative techniques at his disposal. Dr. Ching’s passion for plastic surgery compels him to remain at the forefront of the field and continue to explore how technology can help Asia Pacific Plastic Surgery offer an even better experience to patients.
Dr. Ching’s reputation as a plastic surgeon who blends artistry and skill has been honored many times, both here in Hawaii and nationwide. He has been named as one of the Best Doctors in America since 2011, a recognition reserved for the nation’s top 5% of doctors. He also earned first place in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s People’s Choice Awards since 2013 and was among Honolulu Magazine’s Top Doctors in Hawaii since 2011. Castle Connolly Top Doctors has also awarded Dr. Ching Best Doctor status since 2016. Honolulu Magazine has also awarded our practice, Asia Pacific Plastic Surgery as the best cosmetic surgery practice in Honolulu since 2015.
While both cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery deal with improving a patient’s body, the overarching philosophies guiding the training, research, and goals for patient outcomes are different.
What is cosmetic surgery?
Cosmetic Surgery: Focused on Enhancing Appearance
The procedures, techniques, and principles of cosmetic surgery are entirely focused on enhancing a patient’s appearance. Improving aesthetic appeal, symmetry, and proportion are the key goals. A cosmetic surgery can be performed on all areas of the head, neck, and body. Since cosmetic procedures treat areas that function properly, cosmetic surgery is designated as elective. Cosmetic elective procedures are performed by doctors from a variety of medical fields, including plastic surgeons.
What is plastic surgery?
Plastic Surgery is focused on repairing defects to reconstruct a normal function and appearance. Reconstruction can be for facial and body defects due to birth disorders, trauma, burns, and disease. While many plastic surgeons choose to complete additional training and perform cosmetic surgery as well, the basis of their surgical training remains reconstructive plastic surgery. In fact, in 1999, the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons changed its name to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons to more strongly communicate the message that “plastic and reconstructive surgeons are one in the same.”
Physicians who become board certified in plastic surgery are required to complete one of two routes of training:
- An integrated residency training that combines three years of general surgery and three years of plastic surgery or;
- An independent, five-year residency program in general surgery followed by the two-year plastic surgery residency program.
Residency programs in plastic surgery may include cosmetic surgery as a portion of a surgeon’s training, but typically do not include training on every cosmetic procedure.