Plastic Surgery Board Certification Requirements
What does Board Certification mean?
Board Certification in a medical specialty means that a physician has satisfied a number of requirements as determined by a particular specialty Board. Certification by the Board of Medical Specialties requires that candidates perform their training in an accredited residency program in a particular field. The American Board of Plastic Surgery (see www.abplsurg.org) is the ONLY board that certifies plastic surgeons.
In order for a plastic surgeon to be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, he or she must have:
Graduated from an accredited medical or osteopathic school. (MD or DO)
Passed a state licensing examination to practice medicine
Completed 3-5 years of residency experience in either General Surgery,
Completed 2-3 years of specialized residency training in Plastic Surgery which encompasses cosmetic and reconstructive surgery of the face, head, neck, trunk and extremities
Passed comprehensive written and rigorous oral examinations in Plastic Surgery
When all these criteria are met, the surgeon is qualified as Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
How do I know if my Plastic Surgeon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?
Don’t be shy about asking him or her directly and without embarrassment during the consultation. Also, look around the office on the walls. Most Board Certified Plastic Surgeons proudly display this hard earned certification in their offices and in their advertising to inform prospective patients of their qualifications. To see a list of Board Certified Plastic Surgeons in your area: www.plasticsurgery.org click on Find a Surgeon
Board Certification is a requirement for physician membership in the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. (ASPS). Look for the ASPS circle of excellence when choosing a plastic surgeon.
Keep in mind that there are many Board Certified physicians in many different medical specialties. When searching for a Plastic Surgeon, make sure they are Board Certified in Plastic Surgery.
Another good question to ask your surgeon is: Do you have privileges to perform this procedure in a hospital operating room? This may seem like a strange and common sense question but it is a very valid one and do not be afraid to ask it. Why is this important?
A physician must undergo stringent peer review in applying for privileges in order to perform a procedure in a hospital operating room. A panel of physicians from all specialties, reviews a prospective surgeon’s educational background, residency and fellowship training, experience and Specialty Board Certification and determines if it will grant the surgeon the privilege to perform that particular procedure in the hospital operating room. Patient safety is the primary concern of this panel and the hospital in general.
By determining if a surgeon has hospital privileges for that particular procedure, you are essentially doing a background check on your doctor. This prevents the physician with a background in obstetrics and gynecology from performing neurosurgery or a dentist from performing breast augmentation in a hospital setting. If your surgeon does not have privileges to perform that particular surgical procedure in a hospital that he or she proposes to perform on you in their office or surgery center, ask why? If you are not satisfied with the answer, keep looking for a surgeon.
The decision to have plastic surgery is a very personal one. You owe it to yourself to take the time to find a safe, qualified and experienced plastic surgeon.