It is important for the public to realize that any physician may call himself or herself a plastic surgeon or a facial plastic surgeon or a cosmetic surgeon . By themselves, these terms are meaningless. We feel that one distinction which does provide some assurance as to a surgeon's training and competence is certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
We are also concerned by the implication that cosmetic surgeons wish for people to "reject the idea of growing old gracefully." We are happy that plastic surgery can help some people with the changes that occur with aging. However, we are offended by the suggestion that the mental and physical maturity that come with aging should be viewed negatively.
GERALD M. SLOAN MD
JOHN F. REINISCH MD
USC School of Medicine