Summary: There might not be a reality television show about, say, a Milwaukee plastic surgeon, but that doesn’t mean that plastic surgery isn’t on the mind of reality television stars themselves. Some reality television stars are constant plastic surgery patients (and it’s hard to blame them, seeing as how they are seen weekly by millions of people). But others, such as Teen Mom OG star Farrah Abraham, are becoming curious about careers as plastic surgeons themselves. This is quite the logical career path for some reality TV stars, though it might not be an easy one, especially if they aren’t overly familiar with how to become a plastic surgeon.

learning how to become a plastic surgeon isn't easy.

Learning How to Become a Plastic Surgeon

Plastic surgery is an incredibly interesting field, and reality television is an incredibly interesting medium (especially when you view it from the outside and not on the television screen—look, most reality television is incredibly fictionalized, so it’s just an interesting behemoth of entertainment). So maybe it shouldn’t be surprising that reality television star Farrah Abraham, who can currently be seen on a TV show called Teen Mom OG–which, apparently is a thing—has recently been quoted as being interested in pursuing a career in plastic surgery.

I’ll be totally honest—I’ve never watched the show. I don’t really know who Farrah Abraham is, though I am familiar with her unfortunate experience during her lip augmentation. Apparently, her procedure didn’t go so well (this is a rare experience, it should be noted, and it hasn’t scared Abraham off from other plastic surgery procedures). Even still, Abraham seems like a bright enough woman, and so it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that she could, indeed, become a plastic surgeon.

Do Reality Stars Make Good Surgeons?

There’s a lot to like about being a plastic surgeon, after all. With a successful practice, the income can be quite gratifying. But, if you were to ask most plastic surgeons, I’m not sure that would be their primary motivating factor. Rather, I think the rewarding part of plastic surgery is helping people. To some degree, all doctors do this. But plastic surgeons help people on an elective basis. This is somewhat different than treating someone with a life-threatening ailment. When you’re a plastic surgeon, you can witness—and help bring about—a kind of transformation.

Of course, becoming a plastic surgeon isn’t necessarily an easy thing to accomplish. And while we have no doubt that if Abraham puts her mind to it, she can certainly accomplish just that, it might help to have some idea of what she’s in for. First, there’s the four years it takes to get a Bachelor’s Degree, and many plastic surgeons will get their degree in organic chemistry or some other premed field. Then there’s three years of medical school. Then a couple of years as a resident or intern, basically, and then a few years of practicing plastic surgery.

How to Become Board Certified

Eventually, after a few years of successful practice, you might become a board certified plastic surgeon. In order to become a board certified plastic surgeon, you need to have accomplished the following:

  • Graduate from an accredited medical school
  • Complete no fewer than five years of additional training as a resident surgeon (that training must be done at an accredited hospital)
  • Of those five years, at least two must be devoted specifically to plastic surgery
  • Must pass comprehensive written exams

You might notice that to become board certified, doctors must pass even more exams. And this is after they’ve already graduated from medical school. Certainly, this emphasizes the fact that, for plastic surgeons, learning never ends.

The Other Duties of Surgeons

Which is a good time to point out that plastic surgery is not all surgery. That is, it’s not as though plastic surgeons spend 12 hours a day in the surgical suites, six days a week. Rather, a good deal of time is devoted to research—whether that means running clinical trials or reading academic papers on the latest plastic surgery trends. Often plastic surgeons will also devote a significant amount of time to teaching other plastic surgeons, sometimes in a classroom setting and sometimes in a surgical setting.

In other words, plastic surgeons embrace the notion that they are not only medical professionals but academic professionals as well—in other words, that they are life-long learners and educators. It’s an important part to the overall profession of plastic surgery—because surgeons realize that when they all learn together, everyone wins.

A Rewarding But Challenging Career

So, much as is the case with the rest of us, Abraham has a lot to learn about plastic surgery. Of course, if you’ve been paying attention, recognizing that is probably a pretty important step in becoming a good plastic surgeon. It’s true that this career path isn’t for everybody, and it can be incredibly difficult and trying. But for those plastic surgeons who do end up with their own practice, it can be an incredibly rewarding career. Not just financially, although that’s what everyone thinks about first.

No, a career in plastic surgery can make you privy to some of the most gratifying and awesome transformations—not only of the body, but also of the spirit and of the soul and of the mind. And those are the transformations—lifelong transformations that let people feel good and better—that this profession is really all about.