A Comprehensive Guide to Plastic surgeon Careers

The Comprehensive Guide to the Job of a Plastic Surgeon

Plastic surgeons are medical professionals who specialize in restoring, reconstructing, and enhancing physical appearances. They are known for their exceptional skills in performing surgical procedures on various parts of the body. This comprehensive guide will provide you with information on education and training requirements, job responsibilities, job outlook, salary and benefits, challenges and rewards, personal qualities, and opportunities for advancement in the field of plastic surgery.

Education and Training Requirements

To become a plastic surgeon, you will need to complete extensive education and training. It typically involves the following steps:

Undergraduate Degree

The first step towards becoming a plastic surgeon is to complete an undergraduate degree. While there is no specific major required to enter medical school, most aspiring plastic surgeons tend to major in biology, chemistry, or a related field.

Medical School

After earning a bachelor’s degree, aspiring plastic surgeons must complete a four-year program at an accredited medical school. Students will learn about the human body, diseases, medical procedures, and treatments. They also complete clinical rotations, which provide hands-on experience in diagnosing and treating patients.


After graduating from medical school, aspiring plastic surgeons must complete a five-year residency program. During the residency, the trainees get extensive experience in performing surgical procedures. They also get to learn from experienced surgeons and gain more knowledge on specific areas of plastic surgery.


After completing their residency, some plastic surgeons may opt to pursue a fellowship program, where they will receive additional training in specialized areas of plastic surgery, such as reconstructive or cosmetic surgery. Fellowship programs typically last for one to two years.

Job Responsibilities

A plastic surgeon performs a variety of procedures, including corrective surgery for defects caused by birth, trauma, illness, or disease. They may also perform cosmetic procedures to enhance a patient’s appearance. Some of the common job responsibilities of a plastic surgeon include:

– Conducting pre-operative consultations with patients to understand their goals and develop a treatment plan.
– Performing surgical procedures such as face lifts, breast augmentation, rhinoplasty, liposuction, and tummy tucks.
– Monitoring patients’ progress and providing post-operative care.
– Collaborating with other healthcare professionals, such as dermatologists or oncologists, to provide comprehensive care to patients.

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Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for plastic surgeons is excellent, with projected employment growth of 4 percent from 2019 to 2029, which is faster than the average for all occupations.

The demand for plastic surgery procedures is driven by many factors, including:

– Greater awareness about personal appearance
– Advancements in medical technology
– Aging population with increased demand for facial and body rejuvenation procedures
– Healthcare facilities increasing access to cosmetic surgery
– Acceptance of plastic surgery as a legitimate medical procedure

Salary and Benefits

The salary for plastic surgeons varies depending on many factors including location, experience, and type of employment. According to the BLS, the median annual wage for physicians and surgeons was $206,500 in May 2020.

Besides the salary, plastic surgeons can also benefit from:

– Job security due to increased demand for plastic surgery procedures
– Health and retirement benefits
– Malpractice insurance to protect them from legal claims
– Opportunities to work in prestigious hospitals or private practices

Challenges and Rewards

Like any profession, being a plastic surgeon comes with its own set of challenges and rewards.


– Work-life balance is a common challenge for many plastic surgeons due to the long hours and demanding nature of the job.
– Some of the procedures performed by plastic surgeons can be time-consuming, complex, and require extreme precision. This can lead to fatigue and stress.
– Malpractice lawsuits – Plastic surgeons are at risk of facing malpractice lawsuits if a patient is dissatisfied with the outcome of a procedure.


– The ability to transform a patient’s life by restoring, reconstructing or enhancing their physical appearance.
– The satisfaction of helping patients to overcome physical challenges or illnesses through surgery.
– The intellectual challenges and satisfaction of performing highly complex surgical procedures.

Personal Qualities

To be a successful plastic surgeon, you need to have some key personal qualities, including:

– Hand-eye coordination – Plastic surgeons must have excellent hand-eye coordination to perform precise, delicate surgical maneuvers.
– Attention to detail – Attention to detail is critical in plastic surgery since every tiny detail may significantly impact the outcome of a procedure.
– Empathy – A plastic surgeon must empathize with patients’ concerns, goals, and apprehensions, and provide counseling and reassurance as required.

Opportunities for Advancement

There are various opportunities for plastic surgeons to advance their careers beyond just performing surgeries. Here are some examples:

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– Investing in continuing education can help plastic surgeons specialize in specific areas of plastic surgery, such as facial reconstruction, hand surgery or pediatric surgery.
– Plastic surgeons can also move into teaching positions in medical schools or research positions in academia, where they can share their knowledge and contribute to advancements in plastic surgery.
– Some plastic surgeons also go into administration, practice management or healthcare consulting, where they can leverage their medical knowledge to provide strategic guidance and leadership.


Becoming a plastic surgeon requires committing to years of education and training. A career in plastic surgery can be both challenging and rewarding for the right person. With the field of plastic surgery growing in popularity, there is significant demand for skilled and qualified professionals who are passionate about helping people. If you have a personal disposition towards science, art, and the desire to help others, a career in plastic surgery may be a perfect fit for you.

Frequently Asked Question About Plastic surgeon Career

1. What is a plastic surgeon?

Plastic surgeon is a medical specialist who specializes in the reconstruction, restoration or alteration of the human body through surgical procedures. The focus of plastic surgery is to improve the function and appearance of the body by repairing, reconstructing, or enhancing body parts.

2. What types of plastic surgery procedures do plastic surgeons perform?

Plastic surgeons perform a wide range of surgical procedures, including breast augmentation, liposuction, rhinoplasty (nose surgery), facelifts, and tummy tucks. They also perform reconstructive surgery, such as breast reconstruction after mastectomy, and skin grafting for burn patients.

3. How do I choose the right plastic surgeon for me?

It’s important to choose a plastic surgeon who is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and has experience in the specific procedure you are considering. Look for a surgeon who has a good reputation, is transparent about the risks and benefits of the procedure, and is willing to answer all of your questions.

4. What are the risks associated with plastic surgery?

Like any surgical procedure, plastic surgery carries risks, such as bleeding, infection, and adverse reactions to anesthesia. Depending on the procedure, there may be additional risks, such as implant rupture or dissatisfaction with the results. However, these risks can be minimized by choosing a qualified plastic surgeon and following all pre- and post-operative instructions.

5. What should I expect during a consultation with a plastic surgeon?

During a consultation with a plastic surgeon, you can expect to discuss your goals, medical history, current health status, and any concerns you have about the procedure. The surgeon will also examine the area to be treated and discuss the options available to you, along with the risks and benefits of each. This is also an opportunity for you to ask questions and address any concerns you may have.