If you are considering any kind of cosmetic procedure to enhance your appearance—from microbrasion or laser hair removal to a full-on surgical procedure—Dr. Kurtis Moyer, Chief of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the Carilion Clinic Cosmetic Center in Roanoke, wants you to know one very important thing: even though the terms seem synonymous, there is a point of distinction between “plastic surgeons” and “cosmetic surgeons.”

“Plastic surgeons are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery,” says Dr. Moyer. “Cosmetic surgeons typically go through different training. They can be a surgeon. They can be a vascular surgeon who decides they want to do some cosmetic procedures. But a plastic surgeon has graduated from an American Board of Specialties-approved program, which is the most stringent of all the training programs.” In other words, you’re getting a specialist when you seek out a plastic surgeon.

Even if you’re considering a minimally invasive procedure like Botox injections, if you find you like the results, and you want to eventually opt for a full-on facelift, visiting a plastic surgeon provides you with a trusted partner who can lead you through each phase in the process.

“If you go to a medical spa to get a Botox treatment done, and you like the results so much that you feel you’re ready to go on to the next step, you often don’t have people advising you on that, and you’re not really sure where to go,” says Dr. Moyer. “We’re there from the ground up, starting with a medical esthetician and a quality line of skin care products. The esthetician can then identify if a patient is a good candidate for Botox, and then a patient can visit with a plastic surgeon to see if they are a good candidate for cosmetic surgery.”

In 2015, some of the most popular cosmetic surgical procedures included the following:
• Breast augmentations; 279,000 procedures done, down 2% from 2014
• Liposuction; 225,000 procedures done, up 5% from 2014
• Nose reshaping; 218,000 procedures done, no change from 2014
• Eyelid surgery; 204,000 procedures done, down 1% from 2014
• Tummy tucks; 128,000 procedures done, up 9% from 2014

Breaking down the results by gender, women had 92% of the total cosmetic procedures done (1.4 million surgical; 12.5 million minimally invasive) versus 8% for men (208,000 surgical; 1.1 million minimally invasive).

“We do a lot of what we call ‘Mommy Makeovers’ that includes abdominalplasty, or a tummy tuck, combined with a breast lift or augmentation,” says Dr. Moyer.

It’s important to note that even if you do elect to do a surgical procedure, you may not be a good candidate for it, based on a number of different factors. A well-trained plastic surgeon can explain why and help you understand what the results may be versus what your expectations are.

“It’s very rewarding for me when a person comes in who wants a facelift because their friend has a facelift, and they want the same results,” says Dr. Moyer. “A normal facelift consultation for me takes about 30 minutes. But if a prospect is not a good candidate for the procedure, it may take me an hour to go through everything with them and explain things they may have misunderstood when researching procedures on the Internet. Typically, they are much happier and appreciative because they end up learning a lot and fully understanding their expectations versus the results they are likely to see. I don’t want someone to have a complication or to spend money and not get good results and be dissatisfied or upset about anything. If I can prevent that, I’m happier for it.”

By Barrett Baker