FAQ’s

How does a doctor become board certified?

Why is the American Board of Plastic Surgery, Inc. different from other plastic surgery (or cosmetic surgery) boards?

What is the difference between membership in a society, association, academy and accreditation/certification?

Where can I find additional information on plastic surgery procedures?

Is board certification in plastic surgery the best?

How do I choose a good plastic surgeon and what type of questions should I be asking my doctor?

Does that mean that an otolaryngologist (or dermatologist, ophthalmologist) is not qualified to do plastic surgery?

What does it mean when a doctor is not board certified?

 

How does a doctor become board certified? Why should I choose a doctor who is board certified by ABPS?

By choosing a plastic surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, Inc., you can be assured that the doctor has graduated from an accredited medical school and has completed at least five years of additional training as a resident surgeon in a program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Medical Education or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. This includes a minimum of five years of residency training in all areas of surgery, including at least two years devoted entirely to plastic surgery. Certification is a voluntary process a surgeon seeks after this training. To become certified, the doctor then must pass comprehensive written and oral exams.

Visit www.abplsurg.org for more information about the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

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Why is the American Board of Plastic Surgery, Inc. (ABPS) different from other plastic surgery (or cosmetic surgery) boards?

ABPS is one of the 24 specialty boards recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). It is the only ABMS board which certifies in the full spectrum of the specialty of plastic surgery of the entire body. That is, plastic and reconstructive surgery of the head and neck, trunk and extremities.

Visit www.abplsurg.org for more information about the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

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What is the difference between membership in a society, association, academy and accreditation/certification?

The ABPS Diplomate is a certified physician who has met the requirements outlined above. The mission 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 subspecialties.

Societies are professional membership associations. The specific society, association or academy should be contacted for specific membership requirements and mission.

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Where can I find good information on plastic surgery procedures?

Contact the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) at www.plasticsurgery.org or the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS) at www.surgery.org.

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Is board certification in plastic surgery the best?

Board Certification status is one tool a patient can use when deciding on a surgeon. It tells the health care consumer about the training and examinations in the specialty field that a surgeon has completed. The training and testing requirements are listed in question #1. Consumers can compare the ABPS requirements for certification to those of the surgeon under consideration.

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How do I choose a good plastic surgeon and what type of questions should I be asking my doctor?

Helpful questions to ask of the prospective surgeon include:

  • Is the doctor board certified and is that specialty area appropriate to the procedure you are considering?
  • What qualifications/training does the physician have to perform the procedure in question?
  • How many of this type of procedure has he/she performed?
  • How many of this type of procedure does he/she perform each year?
  • If you are considering a new procedure, how did the doctor obtain training for this?
  • Has the doctor had many problems or complications with this procedure?
  • Do you feel comfortable with that doctor?


ASPS and ASAPS have brochures available on how to choose a plastic surgeon and on many procedures which may be helpful. Visit the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) website at www.plasticsurgery.org or the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS) website at www.surgery.org.

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Does that mean that an otolaryngologist (or dermatologist, ophthalmologist) is not qualified to do plastic surgery?

Residency training programs in specialties other than plastic surgery do include some aspects of plastic surgery. For example, otolaryngology training involves plastic surgery of the head and neck. Ophthalmology with an additional fellowship in occuloplastic surgery training includes procedures in and around the eyes, and dermatology training can include laser procedures of the skin. We suggest you have a discussion with your physician about the procedure, and how his/her training has prepared him/her for the surgery you are considering.

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What does it mean when a doctor isn’t board certified?

Board certification is an additional voluntary credential a physician chooses to obtain after medical school and residency training. It can mean that the surgeon did not complete the requisite training requirements for ABPS, completed training outside the Unites States or Canada, completed surgical training in an osteopathic program, elected not to take an examination or was unsuccessful on the examination.

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Sources: American Board of Plastic Surgery, 2012. Please see www.abplsurg.org for more information.

American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 2012. Please see www.plasticsurgery.org for more information.

 

 

 


Dr. Dean is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. She is also a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

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