A cosmetic surgery nurse is an RN trained to offer aesthetic care and services to patients. They are specially trained in various services such as laser skin treatments and tattoo removal. A plastic surgery nurse takes care of patients undergoing reconstructive and cosmetic surgical procedures like chemical peels, facelifts, liposuction, and breast reconstruction.  

Understanding cosmetic surgery 

The principles, techniques, and procedures involved in cosmetic surgery improve an individual’s appearance. The main goals of this procedure are boosting symmetry, aesthetic appeal, and proportion.  

Often, aesthetic surgeries can be conducted on nearly all parts of the neck, head, and body. Often cosmetic procedures are elective because they treat facial or body sections that operate correctly. Doctors from different medical fields perform elective cosmetic procedures.  

What are the different types of cosmetic surgery nursing procedures? 

Standard cosmetic procedures include: 

Breast augmentation 

This process involves procedures that modify the size or increase the size of the breasts. It can also be referred to as breast implant surgery, especially when the breasts are increased. Breast augmentation is different from breast reduction or breast lifts.  


This procedure involves the use of a unique tool that lightly smooths the top skin layer. After the process, the smoothed area heals, and new skin grows to replace the old one. Dermabrasion is used to correct acne scars, crows’ feet, age spots: lesions and skin growths, wrinkles, and sun-damaged skin.  


This procedure helps correct loose, wrinkled, sagging, or drooping skin along the face. Facelifts involve the removal of excess skin, replacing or skin over removed contours, and lifting facial tissues. Facial lifts are usually done together with neck lifts, eyelid surgery, nose reshaping, and eyelid surgery.  

Hair transplantation 

This procedure is also referred to as hair restoration and is done to enhance the appearance of baldness. During this procedure, hair is removed from a section of thick growth and transferred to a bald area. Thousands of hairs can be moved in one session. Some people may need two or more sessions depending on the severity of their condition. The hair transfer process is permanent and requires long-term care. Often, hair transplantation procedures result in successful hair growth.  

Lip augmentation 

This process is meant to give patients full-looking lips. Lip augmentation involves the use of injectable dermal stuffing to modify lip shape, volume, or structure. This process is not permanent, and its effects often last for approximately six months. Patients will need a second procedure after that time frame to restore lip volume and shape.  

Understanding Plastic Surgery nursing 

Patients may consider plastic surgery to fix dysfunctional sections of the body. Plastic surgery is a reconstructive procedure. Often, plastic surgeons opt to enroll for further training and can also perform cosmetic surgery. However, they are specially trained to perform reconstructive surgery.  

The American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons adopted the name American Society of Plastic Surgeons in 1999 to communicate clearly that reconstructive and plastic surgeons perform the same procedure.  

What are some common types of plastic surgery nursing? 

Nearly 18 million plastic surgery nursing procedures are performed in the USA annually. Unlike in the past, when the process was a reserve of women, men today embrace plastic surgery for reconstructive reasons. Some of the standard plastic surgery processes include: 

  • Breast reconstruction 
  • Hand surgery 
  • Lower extremity reconstruction 
  • Burn repair surgery 
  • Congenital flaw repair, which includes extremity defect repair and cleft palate
  • Scar revision surgery 

How to become a plastic surgery nurse 

To become a plastic surgery nurse, you’ll need a Bachelor of Science in Nursing or an Associate’s Degree in Nursing. You’ll also need to complete the NCLEX-RN successfully. Various certifications are required in the plastic surgery field.  


Aspiring plastic surgery nurses can obtain them from the Certified Plastic Surgical Nurse and Plastic Surgical Nursing Certification Board. To be eligible for these certifications, a nurse should possess a current RN license, have at least two years of plastic surgical nursing experience within three years, and have approximately 1,000 hours of practice as a plastic surgical nurse.  

How to become a cosmetic surgery nurse 

Cosmetic surgery nurses should have either a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing or an associate’s degree in nursing. They should also complete and pass the NCLEX-RN from an authorized institution. A cosmetic surgery nurse should have a minimum of two years’ experience working in critical competencies with a certified cosmetic or plastic physician.  

A Certified Aesthetic Nurse Specialist Credential is an added advantage, and nurses can acquire it from the PSNCB (Plastic Surgical Nursing Certification Board). Nurses don’t need a specialized training course to get the PSNCB certificate. 


Both plastic surgery nurses and cosmetic surgery nurses should have proper training and certifications before venturing into the industry.