The Importance of Choosing a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

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Plastic surgery is a popular topic these days, as has been for years now. Having the ability to alter your image as you please is highly appealing to both men and women. Whatever the reason someone chooses to undergo plastic surgery, it is utterly important that he or she choose a board certified plastic surgeon to perform their procedure.

It is no secret that plastic surgery is not a cheap endeavor, thus leading some people choose doctors who will perform the surgery for a cheaper price, rather than someone who is properly certified. This may seem like a good idea to his or her bank account, but in the long run, it could cost them even more money if the surgeon does a poor job.

What is a board certified plastic surgeon and how can someone find one?

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons gives anyone the ability to search for a surgeon in his or her area that specializes in the type of procedure they are interested in. All of the surgeons listed are board certified plastic surgeons and have either been certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

As part of a specialty board, all of their surgeons are held accountable for their actions to both the public and their medical profession.

Surgeons must undergo training and pass several exams in order to become a board certified plastic surgeon with the ABPS. They must take a written, oral and hand exams.

Why is having a board certified plastic surgeon important?

The mission statement of the ABPS specifically states their promotion of “safe, ethical and efficacious plastic surgery.” It also states that they promote this by “maintaining high standards for the education, examination, certification, and maintenance of certification of plastic surgeons as specialists and subspecialists.”

Through the mission statement alone anyone undergoing a procedure from a ABPS board certified plastic surgeon can have full confidence in the fact that their surgeon has lived up to and must continue to meet certain standards. This ensures safety and quality in the process, equipment and location, and should these standards not be met, the surgeon will have to answer to the ABPS and risk losing his or her license.

All “board certifications” are not the same

Any doctor that trains for a year in some form of surgery can call him- or herself a plastic surgeon, and can actually be “certified” via the less stringent requirements of the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS). These two organizations (ABPS vs. ABCS) sound very similar, but unless your doctor is board certified by the ABPS, there is no guarantee that this surgeon is fully and specifically qualified to do the procedure asked of them. The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) is the only board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). To obtain an ABPS board certification a surgeon must have graduated from an accredited medical school AND have completed at least five years of additional training as a resident surgeon, of which at least two years devoted entirely to plastic surgery.

Eric F. O’Neill MD is a Plastic Surgeon in Waco Texas. He is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.