Certification from American Board of Plastic SurgeryOur Answer:

There are currently 24 specialty boards that the ABMS oversees, one of which is the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). These individual boards are responsible for examining the qualifications of each physician who wishes to call himself/herself a medical specialist to make certain that he/she is well-trained. Only after passing such an examination can the physician become “board certified.”

The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) is the only one of the 24 boards approved by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) that certifies physicians in plastic surgery of the face and all areas of the body. To be ABPS board certified, a physician must meet these rigorous standards:

  • Graduate from an accredited medical school
  • Complete at least five years of surgical training following medical school with a minimum of two years of plastic surgery residency training
  • Pass comprehensive oral and written exams

A physician who meets these standards will, in Dr. Sanders’ opinion, be more likely to give the patient an excellent surgical result than a physician who is not as well trained.

There are many physicians who practice cosmetic surgery who are not ABPS certified. They may claim board certification, but these boards are not recognized by the ABMS. A notable example is the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. Do not be misled – ask the surgeon if he/she is board certified by an ABMS specialty board such as the American Board of Plastic Surgery. If the answer is no, move on to a surgeon who is board certified.

What about a board-certified dermatologist or otolaryngologist (ENT) performing your plastic surgery? Although dermatologists or otolaryngologists may be trained in the performance of certain plastic procedures, excellent training in procedures such as breast augmentation is unlikely. Let the patient beware! Not all board-certified surgeons are appropriately trained in the procedure that you may be considering.

It is very difficult, even impossible at times, to undo the effects of a poorly performed plastic surgical procedure. By choosing an appropriately trained and board-certified plastic surgeon to perform your surgery, you will minimize the chance of that happening to you!

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