Choosing a plastic surgeon
Posted April 24, 2015 in Board certified
Why is it important to carefully choose your plastic surgeon?
Millions of Americans undergo plastic surgical procedures each year. The popularity of elective plastic surgery continues to increase annually. Plastic surgery involves making many choices. The most important choice you can make is selecting a plastic surgeon that you can trust. There are many physicians who claim to be “cosmetic surgeons” who advertise for plastic surgery procedures. This is very misleading and can be confusing to the general public.
There is nothing that prevents a physician from calling themselves a “cosmetic surgeon.” Practically any doctor can do so. They claim that they are board certified, but as a consumer you must ask who are they board certified by? A lot of these so-called “cosmetic surgeons” are “board certified” by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. It is important to point out to you, the consumer, that the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery is not recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. There are 24 Medical Boards represented by the American Board of Medical Specialties. The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery is not a recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. In fact, practically anyone with a medical license can apply to be a member of the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery.
In contrast, a board certified plastic surgeon is one who is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. This organization is the only governing body in the United States that certifies plastic surgeons. The American Board of Plastic Surgery has been a member of the American Board of Medical Specialties since 1941. The Mission Statement of the American Board of Plastic Surgery is as follows:
The Mission Statement of The American Board of Plastic Surgery, Inc. is to promote safe, ethical, efficacious plastic surgery to the public by maintaining high standards for the education, examination, certification and maintenance of certification of plastic surgeons as specialists and subspecialists.
In order to become board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, a candidate must complete a rigorous residency training program in plastic surgery that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Following successful completion of residency, a candidate who wishes to become board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery must pass an intensive written examination. Only after passing the written examination, which is given once annually, is the candidate eligible to take an oral examination, also administered once per year. The oral examination tests not only the candidates knowledge of plastic surgery, but also assesses their ethical and moral character. In fact, the American Board of Plastic Surgery states that “Candidates must maintain an ethical standing in the profession and moral status in the community acceptable to The American Board of Plastic Surgery, Inc. in conformity with the Board’s Code of Ethics.” Only after successful completion of both written and oral examinations and a demonstration of the highest ethical and moral character can a plastic surgeon be considered board certified.
In addition to meeting these stringent requirements, plastic surgeons board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery must continue to fulfill continuing medical education requirements through the Maintenance of Certification program. This includes not only enhancing knowledge in standards of care and new innovations in the field of plastic surgery, but attention to patient safety requirements as well. Plastic surgeons who are board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery hold the safety of their patients in the highest regard. Unfortunately, those who call themselves “cosmetic surgeons” are not held to the same standard and often perform procedures that are dangerous and not in the best interest of you, the patient.
Plastic surgeons who are board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery are eligible to become members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the largest organization of plastic surgeons in the United States. Look for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons member logo to see if your plastic surgeon is a member of this prestigious organization.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons has launched a public education campaign entitled “Do Your Homework,” which encourages the public to thoroughly research the credentials of their plastic surgeon. Make sure that your plastic surgeon is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. You can look up on the American Board of Plastic Surgery website to see if your surgeon is board certified, and you can also look at the American Society of Plastic Surgeons website to see if your surgeon is a member. Although membership in the American Society of Plastic Surgeons cannot guarantee the results of your plastic surgery, choosing a qualified surgeon is an important first step in helping to assure your safety.