Newport Plastic Surgery > Plastic Surgery > The Critical Importance of Board Certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery

The Critical Importance of Board Certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery

In our fast-paced society where we are constantly bombarded with television and print advertising, as well as the ever-increasing popularity of reality shows that sensationalize cosmetic surgery, it is no wonder that the public is often confused as to the safety and realistic expectations of these surgical procedures. Just because a doctor has a fancy ad campaign or their own reality show, do not assume that they are qualified to be performing your procedure.

Many of the horror stories people hear are often from unqualified doctors performing surgeries that lead to serious complications or even death. I have personally witnessed practices with family practitioners performing facelifts, ENT doctors performing breast augmentations and tummy tucks, and dermatologists or gynecologists performing a variety of facial and body cosmetic surgeries with little to no training. Many of these doctors take a weekend course or simply observe another physician performing these procedures and begin doing them at their practices.

Don’t Be Fooled by Fancy Sounding Credentials

The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), the main authoritative organization that provides what is considered the ‘gold standard’ in physician certifications, oversees 24 specialty boards to maintain the highest standards of ethics and medical care for its members. The ONLY board recognized by the ABMS in the discipline of plastic and reconstructive surgery is the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). This is a critical fact to know since many cosmetic doctors claim membership and ‘board certification’ in random organizations with impressive names designed to deliberately confuse and mislead the public to try to add credibility to their questionable qualifications.

Some physicians, including myself, complete a full five-year general surgery residency, in addition to years of surgical fellowship training to further fine-tune their skills. After completion of this training, candidates must go through grueling written and oral board examinations to prove their knowledge, as well as submit cases for peer review by the board members and fellow practicing surgeons. It is only after successful completion of all these requirements that a physician can earn the distinction of board certification. Although some of the other surgical specialty training programs may provide limited exposure to the field of plastic surgery during their rotations, none approach the breadth of exposure and complexity of cases offered in a formal plastic and reconstructive surgery residency.

What Can You Do to Ensure You’re Choosing a Qualified Plastic Surgeon?

If you are not careful, you may find yourself being operated on by a physician with no formal training in plastic surgery who has not met any requirements to prove their knowledge base or competence in performing your surgery. Don’t be misled by dubious certifications or significantly discounted procedure rates. If you are interested in undergoing plastic surgery, it is incumbent for you to do your homework and find a qualified plastic surgeon to help you reach your goals.

You can review a doctor’s credentials on their website, research them on the internet, or even ask them if they are board-certified, and if so, by which board? If you find that they are board-certified by any organization other than the American Board of Plastic Surgery, chances are they may not be qualified to perform your surgery. You should review where they trained and in what disciplines. You should also check which hospitals they hold active privileges at and which medical societies they are members of. And finally, you should discuss your goals and expectations for your procedure to make sure that you feel comfortable with your surgeon and that you are both on the same page.

Not all doctors are created equal. Although every physician at some point in their career can have a complication, the chances of that happening are significantly reduced when you choose a legitimate plastic surgeon who has accomplished stringent training and examination requirements, undergone a strict peer-review process, and has achieved board-certification by the only board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties- The American Board of Plastic Surgery. Your body is your most precious commodity, so why not maximize your chances for a beautiful aesthetic result and a safe recovery with a board-certified plastic surgeon. Contact Newport Plastic Surgery today to schedule your complimentary consultation.