How to Transition from Otolaryngology to Cosmetic Surgery

As an otolaryngologist, you are an experienced surgeon with a well-developed eye for aesthetics. And if you are considering focusing your practice in cosmetic surgery, you would be following in the footsteps of many superior surgeons who have found fulfillment in this specialty. But with scant elective procedure training in residency, it can be challenging to find appropriate, in-depth training from knowledgeable practitioners of the field.

The American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (AACS) offers a post-residency fellowship that guides surgeons to become aesthetically-minded, knowledgeable, and safe cosmetic surgeons under the guidance of renowned board certified cosmetic surgeons who have followed a similar path and now lead thriving cosmetic practices. Below, we discuss why you may choose AACS fellowship training and how to begin the process.

How do I transition from otolaryngology to cosmetic surgery?

As an otolaryngologist, you may complete the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (AACS)-certified fellowship under an experienced cosmetic surgeon in private practice. The fellowship qualifies surgeons to sit for the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS) board certifying exam.

While many surgeons complete this fellowship immediately following residency, others practice as otolaryngologists for years before undergoing the fellowship to specialize in aesthetic medicine.

To qualify for the fellowship, otolaryngologists should have:

Learn more about the application & requirements for surgeons from other residency backgrounds »

Why should I choose cosmetic surgery fellowship training if I am an otolaryngologist?

If you are looking to focus your practice in cosmetic surgery, the AACS-certified fellowship does not merely offer a credential, but meets you where you are as a surgeon and teaches the full range of skills critical to becoming a safe, skilled cosmetic surgeon, from specializing your practice to attracting the right patients. Here are reasons this path may be right for you.

Your training in otolaryngology is excellent preparation for fellowship training in full-body cosmetic surgery.

Training for otolaryngologists encompasses a diverse group of surgical environments and operating techniques. This diversity—along with a strong background in hard and soft tissue techniques in the sensitive head and neck area—lays a strong foundation for cosmetic procedures, which are largely performed along tissue planes.

You will learn comprehensive, integrated cosmetic surgery principles.

Unlike in residency, you will experience a large, concentrated case volume of cosmetic cases at a busy private practice. This allows you to delve into thoughtful and judicious treatment planning using the full range of cosmetic treatments available at modern practices. This training far exceeds that available to you in a hospital-based system, and it takes your training a step further to include procedures for the body.

You will get to know real cosmetic surgery patients.

One of the most striking ways cosmetic and medical patient interactions differ is the decision that the patient will make. In the case of the medical patient, typically the patient is deciding whether to have a procedure—but the cosmetic patient is also deciding who will perform their procedure. 

In a cosmetic surgery fellowship, you will see hundreds of patients and learn the feelings and motivations each patient brings to consultation, developing empathy and understanding that will help you develop sensitive and appropriate cosmetic treatment plans.

You will learn the technology and use of non-surgical treatments. 

Just as you will benefit from specialty training in elective surgery, otolaryngologists find it invaluable to be trained in nonsurgical techniques, like neuromodulators (i.e. Botox®) and injectable fillers. You will also get firsthand experience with ultrasound, radiofrequency, laser, and light devices. These nonsurgical methods are cornerstone treatments to an aesthetic practice today, often used in complementary fashion with surgical procedures.

You will qualify to take the board examination. 

Successful completion of the cosmetic surgery fellowship is the sole path to sitting for the annual certifying exam (held each fall) and becoming a board certified cosmetic surgeon through the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS). Board certification from the ABCS shows patients you are a safe, experienced specialist in the field of cosmetics.

You will enjoy unparalleled camaraderie with your fellow ABCS diplomates. 

Our world-renowned ABCS-certified cosmetic surgeons bring wisdom from numerous primary training specialties. This synergy means that ABCS surgeons offer one another support and shared curiosity, humility, knowledge, and joy. As a diplomate, you will quickly find that this community of support is instrumental to successful and continued growth.

Your successful, safe cosmetic surgery practice begins with fellowship training

To learn more and begin your fellowship application, visit our fellowship training page or contact us today.

Image of Model
The Only Board Dedicated Exclusively To Excellence In Cosmetic Surgery
Find A Surgeon