How is dermatology different from plastic surgery

If you are considering cosmetic procedures such as fillers or Botox injections, you may be wondering whether you should visit a dermatologist or a plastic surgeon. Most plastic surgeons will handle an extensive range of cosmetic procedures, but the same cannot be said for dermatologists. In this article, we differentiate between these two professions to help you find the best plastic surgeon in Baton Rouge.

The goal is to always make sure that you work with a practitioner who has got the training and background required to deliver the results you want. This is true whether we are talking about non-surgical or invasive cosmetic procedures.

GP vs dermatologist vs cosmetic surgeon vs plastic surgeon

There may be a slight crossover between various doctors when it comes to performing cosmetic treatments.

A General Practitioner can repair minor skin imperfections and stitch wounds in such a way as to achieve a favorable cosmetic outcome. GPs can usually also handle numerous other small and non-surgical cosmetic tasks.

Dermatologists are trained and equipped to handle skin and hair treatments with a focus on improving health and appearance. You find that more and more dermatologists are leveraging technology such as ultrasound and laser resurfacing to broaden their service range and offer more aesthetic treatments.

Cosmetic Dermatologists are doctors who have had their basic education as dermatologists but are trained to perform cosmetic treatments. These professionals can help improve your aesthetic appearance and focus on a significant range of non-invasive cosmetic treatments.

Cosmetic surgeons are doctors who have the skills and knowledge to perform complex aesthetic procedures. The focus is to improve the patient’s appearance through invasive procedures such as nose reshaping, eyelid surgery, facelift, tummy tuck, mommy makeovers, and more. Cosmetic surgeons also specialize in a wide range of non-invasive treatments including the likes of BOTOX, dermal fillers, and skin rejuvenation technology. The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery is the organization that accredits professionals in this field.

Plastic surgeons – on the other hand – are highly qualified professionals who can handle a wide variety of reconstructive and cosmetic treatments. These include procedures ranging from breast reconstruction and hand surgery to aesthetic treatments such as abdominoplasty, breast enlargement, liposuction, and facelifts. Plastic surgeons are accredited by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS).

Why choose a plastic surgeon

There are many reasons why most patients choose to work with a plastic surgeon as opposed to a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon.

  • Broad scope – plastic surgeons can reshape and reconstruct any part of your body. They have extensive training in facial structure and anatomy and know how different bones, muscles, and tissue work together. This is not something that can be said to be true for most dermatologists.
  • Diverse treatment options – plastic surgeons often have extensive knowledge and experience in both invasive and minimally invasive cosmetic procedures. For this reason, they tend to have a variety of treatment options that patients can choose from.
  • Unlike dermatologists, surgeons can fully understand the underlying anatomy of the face when they are evaluating patients and planning procedures. They have extensive knowledge of the anatomy of the blood vessels, muscles, tissues, and nerves that supply blood to the skin, head and neck, and even the eyelids.


The right surgeon for you will be influenced by a variety of factors, starting with your specific needs. If you need to have minor skin problems or conditions addressed, then you may consider working with a dermatologist. However, if you need significant improvements to alleviate pressing aesthetic concerns, then a plastic surgeon may be best suited for the job. Dr. Ruston’s office is available for a free consultation to help you understand what treatment options are available for you. Get in touch to schedule a visit today.