2011-03-23 / Opinions

Dr. Niamtu practices facial cosmetic surgery

I am writing in response to a public service [announcement that ran on] page 24 of the Feb. 16 issue of the Chesterfield Observer, which described Dr. Joseph Niamtu as a “plastic surgeon.” Dr. Niamtu practices facial cosmetic surgery under a special certification for cosmetic surgery granted by the Board of Dentistry. Dr. Niamtu is qualified to perform most of the cosmetic procedures included in that special certification, but not rhinoplasty (surgery to reshape the nose). This can be confirmed through the Virginia Board of Dentistry website.

Plastic surgeons are medical doctors who have attended medical school and completed a six-year residency training program to become diplomats of the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Plastic surgeons are trained in the full scope of reconstructive, as well as cosmetic, surgery. Most plastic surgeons are members of the American Society of Plastic Surgery and operate only in facilities recognized as safe by national certifying organizations.

“Plastic surgeon” is sometimes confused with “cosmetic surgeon.” It is important to understand the differences because currently in Virginia a wide variety of physicians and non-physicians perform cosmetic surgery, including facelifts, liposuction and abdominoplasty. Some of these individuals are medical doctors, and some are not. Some have formal surgical training, and some do not. Patients should understand the differences between providers when choosing a cosmetic surgeon. A list of board-certified plastic surgeons is available through the American Society of Plastic Surgeons ( or the Virginia Society of Plastic Surgeons (

I hope I have clarified a public misconception about the specialty of plastic surgery and the market for cosmetic surgery, so patients can make informed decisions when choosing a cosmetic surgeon.

Lewis T. Ladocsi M.D., F.A.C.S.


Virginia Society of Plastic Surgeons

The information for the public service announcement was provided to the Chesterfield Observer by the Chesterfield Historical Society of Virginia. Niamtu was the group’s featured speaker during February’s “Tavern Talk” event. Dr. Niamtu also contacted the paper to correct the wording. Editor

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