The single most essential part of the credentials of a plastic surgeon is the status of their “Board Certification.” Unfortunately, this can be confusing and occasionally misleading. The aesthetic part of plastic surgery is one of the few remaining parts of medicine that is still fee for service. Consequently, many physicians who have limited or non-existent training in plastic surgery are engaging in complicated procedures that are far beyond any formal training that they have received.
It follows then that the most important part of researching the credentials of a plastic surgeon is to make sure that he or she is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. This will signify that he or she has undergone rigorous and standardized training in a qualified institution and has passed thorough tests that have determined him or her to be a safe, knowledgeable and competent surgeon. Most well trained plastic surgeons are also pre trained in another surgical specialty such as general surgery and can be certified by that board — i.e., The American Board of Surgery. Such dual certification is the ultimate that a plastic surgeon can achieve and means that one is dealing with a seasoned and competent surgeon who truly understands the diverse aspects of surgery and plastic surgery.
These boards are not just exams but indications of satisfactory completion of more that 15-17 years of premedical, medical and surgical training and specialization. It is unfortunate to recognize that varieties of other specialties in medicine are currently delivering plastic surgery services with very little training. Boards such as “American Board of Cosmetic Surgery” or “American Board of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery” are not under the umbrella of nor recognized by The American Board of Medical Specialties that governs 24 established boards such as the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Surgery.
A comprehensive list of boards that have met the strict criteria of The American Board of Medical Specialties is as follows:
• Allergy and Immunology
• Internal Medicine
• Orthopedic Surgery
• Preventative Medicine
Board Certified Plastic Surgeons also have the opportunity and distinction of being members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). These main governing bodies not only provide plastic surgeons with continued medical education using a variety of approaches, but also educate the public in all aspects of plastic and reconstructive surgery. The members proudly designate and embellish themselves with these symbols of excellence.
Another important aspect that a prospective patient should determine is the surgeon’s appropriate active privileges at major medical centers of the region in which he or she practices. This indicates that they have passed the usual rigorous credentialing requirements that are an essential part of seeking appointments to these institutions.
Board certification is essential and requires Maintenance of Certification. All respective boards have essential requirements for continual medical education, yearly reporting, and a re-certification process which usually occurs every 10 years. This assures that the skills of your plastic surgeon are fully up to date and that he or she has maintained the level of excellence that went along with the original certification. The pursuit of knowledge is a lifelong venture and it is taken very seriously by all who chose to be part of accredited boards. Surgeons who are certified and maintain the certification of their American Board of Plastic Surgery Boards can proudly display this symbol of excellence.
Embarking on the quest to achieve beauty through plastic surgery should be undertaken with confidence and certainty. Be vigilant in requesting the credentials of your plastic surgeon. You may contact our office or visit the following links to further understand these very important and essential facts.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons — www.plasticsurgery.org
The American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery — www.surgery.org
The American Board of Plastic Surgery — www.abplsurg.org
The American Board of Surgery — www.absurgery.org
The American College of Surgeons — www.facs.org
The American Board of Medical Specialties — www.abms.org
The American Medical Association — www.ama-assn.org