The 411 – On Plastic Surgery Certification

As the availability, affordability, and acceptance of plastic surgery increases, it is quickly becoming one of the most popular elective surgeries. However, not all plastic surgeons are created equal. It is important to do your research and find a properly accredited surgeon to trust your new face, nose, hips, or tummy with. What does it mean to be “board certified”? What is the American Board of Plastic Surgery? Should your surgeon be a member of a professional society? Why do hospital affiliations matter? Where can you check to see if your office-based surgeon is accredited?

What does it mean to be “board certified”? Once a doctor passes his state and specialty training exams, he is considered “board certified.” However, there are a number of medical and certification boards created for a surgeon by a surgeon. But, all of them are not equal. State medical licensure does not limit a physician to only practicing the specialty they were trained in. Research your surgeon and ensure he is board certified with the American Board of Plastic Surgery. That means he or she has passed the highest competency exams in the area of plastic and reconstructive surgery.

What is the American Board of Plastic Surgery? The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) is the only board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) for certification of plastic surgeons.

Should your surgeon be a member of a professional society? There are a number of professional societies created by and for plastic surgeons. Again, not all of them are created equal. Two highly respected plastic and reconstructive professional societies are the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. These societies promote continuing medical education and only doctors that are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery are eligible to join.

Why do hospital affiliations matter? A hospital will grant privileges to a physician based on his or her capabilities, performance, experience, and accreditation. Hospitals do not grant privileges to doctors outside of their specialty training. As such, it is often easy to check with your surgeon’s affiliated hospital to ensure they have privileges to perform the type of surgery you are interested in.

Where can you check to see if your office-based surgeon is accredited? Since office-based surgeons do not require hospital affiliations, it is especially important to do your homework. Check with the American Association for the Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF) to ensure your plastic surgeon’s private facility is qualified, accredited, clean and safe.