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How to Become a Plastic Surgeon

Dhanya Joy
Becoming a plastic surgeon can take long years of study and residency, but it is definitely a highly rewarding career. Read on to know more about what it takes to become a plastic surgeon.
The field of plastic surgery has seen many advancements in the past few decades, owing to the number of people that are opting for this procedure, which obviously calls for more plastic surgeons.
They conduct reconstructive and cosmetic procedures that can entirely change the way a person looks, or can correct flaws that will make the person appear beautiful.
The most important aspect of plastic surgery is its reconstructive ability which has proved important in the correction or repair of many such flaws that are created due to injury or accidents. Of course, celebrities are the ones who have benefited most from this procedure.
Becoming a plastic surgeon requires several years of rigorous study and dedication. Preparation to become one should begin in high school itself.
You should also try mentally preparing yourself as early as possible, regarding the long hours of study and work that you would have to put into the process of reaching your goal. This will help you cut out on the stress levels to a certain extent.
Research well regarding the career opportunities and specializations available and make up your mind thoroughly before you enroll yourself for the course study.

Identifying Your Inclination During High School

Preparing in advance, during high school, will help you go a long way and will also ease the study process a little. Also, admission to a medical school will be easier to obtain with early preparation.
In high school, choose courses like high level maths and sciences that include biology, chemistry, and physics. If these courses are not offered by your college, consider enrolling for them at a local community college or so. Volunteering at hospitals or health care centers during high school will also help.

Getting a Bachelor's Degree

Once high school is over, enroll yourself for a bachelor's degree with majors in science. Although a major in any stream would be fine, one in science would be an added advantage while seeking admission into a medical school. It takes 4 years to obtain bachelor's degree and during this time, you should include courses like physics, biology, psychology, etc.
Maintaining a GPA of 3.5 or above would be helpful as far as medical school is considered. You can also start planning and preparing for the Medical Common Admission Test (MCAT). You can take the MCAT sometime during your years in senior college.

Specializing Through a Medical School

Once you have obtained admission into a medical school, the four years that you will be spending here, will train you for your career in plastic surgery. The first two years will consist mainly of classroom activities which would include courses like immunology, pharmacology, medical ethics, histology, anatomy, etc.
The remaining two years would consist mostly of rotations, but classroom activities would also be involved. The rotations through medical specialties are for exposing you to various fields of medical science like psychiatry, gynecology, internal medicine, and surgery.
You will also need to zero down on a specialty, for example cosmetic surgery, that you would like to opt for during residency. After the successful completion of four years at the medical school, you will obtain a Doctor of Medicine degree (M.D).

Acquiring License

During your years in the medical school, you will also be appearing for licensure exams, to get yourself licensed as a medical practitioner. This exam is known as the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE).

Undergoing a Residency Program

The residency program will be like a first job after obtaining your degree wherein, you will be working and undergoing training under a certified plastic surgeon. The residency program would be five to six years long and would cover core areas of training like patient care, interpersonal communication, professionalism, etc.
You will have two models to choose from in order to complete your residency - the integrated model and the independent model. Each of these models offers different ways in which you can complete your residency. At the end of this program, you will be able to perform plastic surgery procedures like face lifts, tummy tucks, liposuction, mesotherapy, etc.

Becoming a Certified Plastic Surgeon

You will need to apply for a certification from the American Board of Plastic Surgery in order to practice as a certified plastic surgeon. Once your application has been approved, you would have to appear for the written and oral examinations conducted by the board.
Now that you know how to become a plastic surgeon, you can think well and decide if you would like to opt for this lucrative career. Good luck!