Every doctor seems to have different titles and licenses. What do they all mean? Why is it important to select a surgeon that is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?
We know that you are excited about your decision to have cosmetic surgery, and hopeful for your best possible results. We hope that as a potential patient seeking information on cosmetic procedures, you extensively research surgeons that you consider to perform your procedure. We realize however that through the process of researching surgeons, there will be several certifications, licenses and accreditations. Which Board is the best? Are these regulated boards? We hope to explain this a little better so that you as the patient can make the most informed decision possible when selecting the best plastic surgeon for you.
Not all surgeons have the same training and background, and it is very important for you to know your surgeons training and specialty. The growing popularity of cosmetic surgery has made many physicians with various backgrounds decide to start practicing cosmetic surgery. However, training and expertise of physicians differ significantly. Many physicians advertise themselves as Plastic Surgeons, or Cosmetic Surgeons, even when their certification is unrelated to plastic surgery, or when they may not be certified in any recognized specialty at all. They may however actually be trained in another specialty such as Otolaryngology, Obstetric & Gynecology, Dermatology and even Dentistry! These specialties differ dramatically from the training entailed for Plastic Surgery. Surprisingly, many doctors perform cosmetic surgery without having any formal surgical training. Board Certified Plastic Surgeons have gone through a minimum of five years of training in surgery, and then have completed at least two additional years in private practice before being qualified to take the rigorous written and oral examinations to become Board Certified in Plastic Surgery.
If a doctor states that they are “certified” in cosmetic surgery, you should research what this means for yourself. There are numerous so-called “certifying boards” that have been created by individuals or groups that are not recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. These “certifying boards” require no more than a mere weekend course, or just a fee to join the group, with no required training whatsoever. Remember, only the American Board of Plastic Surgery is recognized to certify physicians in the plastic surgery specialty and is the only board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. This does not only include plastic surgery, but also laser treatments, Botox and injectable aesthetic fillers. Although a physician not specializing in plastic surgery may legally be able to purchase Botox and aesthetic fillers, they may not have the appropriate training and experience needed to properly inject patients and give patients their best possible results.
The appropriateness of a surgeon’s training and certification is a good indication of his or her ability to provide you with a safe and effective aesthetic surgical procedure. As a prospective patient, you have the right to know your surgeon’s qualifications. You can obtain up to date information on your surgeon by calling the American Board of Medical Specialties, the American Board of Plastic Surgery and/or the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, or research this on the World Wide Web.