Facial Cosmetic Surgery Fellowship Training: Here’s What to Expect
You’ve completed residency training, and you’re ready to focus on the exciting field of facial cosmetic surgery—a fulfilling line of work that bridges your scientific expertise and fine-tuned aesthetic skills. To gain experience and learn from the best, fellowship training is the next step to establishing a thriving practice. Below, we explain the knowledge you are set to gain from this hands-on training.
But first: an overview of the fellowship, plus how to qualify.
The AACS-certified facial cosmetic surgery fellowship
A post-residency facial cosmetic surgery fellowship certified by the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (AACS) is the most comprehensive program available for surgeons pursuing facial cosmetic surgery training. The AACS places fellows with board-certified facial cosmetic surgeons in private practice who mentor, educate, and train fellows in all aspects of becoming a facial cosmetic surgeon—from aesthetic principles to surgical techniques to running a successful cosmetic surgery practice.
Ultimately, this training prepares surgeons for a successful career in the facial cosmetic specialty and offers an avenue to board certification from the American Board of Facial Cosmetic Surgery (ABFCS).
Requirements to qualify for a facial cosmetic fellowship
To qualify for the AACS fellowship training program, surgeons must have completed a residency in, and hold board certification in, one of the following:
- General surgery
- Oral and maxillofacial surgery
- Plastic and reconstructive surgery
As such, doctors go into the fellowship program already having a surgical background and at least one primary board certification. Many surgeons practice for several years post-residency before choosing to pursue a fellowship in facial cosmetic surgery.
Fellowship training prepares surgeons for a successful career in the facial cosmetic specialty and offers an avenue to board certification from the American Board of Facial Cosmetic Surgery (ABFCS).
Fellowship training may qualify you for board certification
Further, there are three pathways to ABFCS board certification: (1) an AACS fellowship, (2) demonstration of extensive facial cosmetic surgery experience, or (3) a fellowship deemed equivalent to that of the AACS program. This means that, if you don’t yet have substantial facial cosmetic surgery experience or another fellowship under your belt, then completing a one-year minimum facial cosmetic surgery fellowship through the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (AACS) will give you the experience needed to practice as well as help you qualify to sit for the ABFCS annual certifying exam.
Facial cosmetic surgery training
Should you be accepted into the AACS fellowship program, you’ll receive extensive hands-on training in facial procedures, aesthetic principles, and the latest techniques and technologies.
During your fellowship, you will have the opportunity to serve as the primary surgeon, co-surgeon, or assistant surgeon for over 125 procedures; many complete far more than this number. To meet the requirements of the program, you will need to perform a minimum number of blepharoplasty (eyelid lift), rhinoplasty (nose reshaping), and rhytidectomy (facelift) surgeries. In addition to these procedures, you’ll gain experience in other surgical and non-surgical facial cosmetic procedures commonly offered in cosmetic surgery practices. These typically include, but are not limited to:
Forehead (brow) lift
Otoplasty (ear reshaping)
Genioplasty (chin augmentation)
Fat grafting to the face
Hair transplantation and restoration
Hard and soft tissue augmentation contour procedures
Cosmetic laser procedures
What you will gain from facial cosmetic fellowship training
The facial cosmetic fellowship program provides comprehensive training on all aspects of becoming an ABFCS certified cosmetic surgeon.
1. Work alongside an experienced, board-certified facial cosmetic surgeon
AACS facial cosmetic surgery fellowship directors are established ABFCS diplomates who will share their experience and expertise. Your mentor surgeon will advise you on all aspects of leading a thriving cosmetic surgery practice, including best practices for patient care, working with support staff, and growing a practice.
2. Gain invaluable experience performing facial cosmetic surgeries
Because of the required surgical background, your hands-on experience can begin right away under the supervision of your fellowship director. AACS fellowship requires that you learn and become proficient in the full scope of current facial cosmetic surgery procedures, both surgical and non-surgical.
3.Utilize the latest cosmetic technologies and devices
Fellows also learn about non-surgical and minimally-invasive treatments and procedures that complement surgical outcomes and can make up a large part of a cosmetic surgery practice.
4. See patients from pre-operative visits, to surgery, to post-operative care
You will gain long-term experience treating facial cosmetic patients from their initial consultation to recovery, including invaluable experience identifying and managing common complications.
5. Transform your surgical practice
ABFCS surgeons dedicate all or a significant portion of the practice to facial cosmetic procedures. Our diplomates have a thorough understanding of the underlying anatomic causes of facial cosmetic concerns and can achieve aesthetic improvements through surgical and non-surgical modalities. The focused, hands-on experience you’ll gain from your fellowship training in a busy practice will help to build your reputation as a highly-trained facial cosmetic surgeon.
Becoming a board-certified facial cosmetic surgeon
Once you have completed the AACS facial cosmetic surgery fellowship and completed your ABFCS application, you may be eligible to sit for the ABFCS annual certifying exam. The exam consists of written and oral exams and is designed to allow candidates to demonstrate their expertise on a full scope of surgical and non-surgical facial cosmetic procedures and best practices in patient care and safety.
The experience you’ll gain from your fellowship training in a busy practice will help to build your reputation as a highly-trained facial cosmetic surgeon.
ABFCS certification is a significant distinction in this specialty: it shows that you have proven your expertise and experience in facial cosmetic surgery, performed numerous aesthetic facial procedures, and passed rigorous written and oral exams. Having ABFCS board certification assures prospective patients that they will be under the care of an expert in facial aesthetics, paving the way for you to enjoy a successful facial cosmetic surgery career.
Join our community of facial cosmetic surgeons dedicated to achieving safe, outstanding aesthetic results
If you are interested in learning more about the AACS facial cosmetic surgery fellowship program, visit the AACS website. To learn about ABFCS board certification or begin your application, read about how to apply and contact us to get started.
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