Board Certified

When choosing a surgeon to perform an operation, patients often wonder why it is important to choose a board certified surgeon. Of those who know the importance, often people become confused about what exactly they should be looking for.

Board certification is a credentialing process where physicians voluntarily complete a list of requirements in order to be certified by a particular specialty board. The process to become board certified is different in every specialty. In order to become board certified in plastic surgery it requires that you have completed an accredited training program in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Following graduation there is a two step examination process which requires both a writtenand oral examination that are taken in subsequent years. Board elligible surgeons are those who have completed the accredited training program and are somewhere along the path to becoming board certified.

The reason that is gets confusing is because some surgeons advertise that they are board certifed cosmetic surgeons or just that they are board certified and do not indicate in which specialty. There is no accredited training program in ‘cosmetic surgery.’ Often the physicians that indicate this board are certified in a field other than plastic and reconstructive surgery. Before a consultaion for any cosmetic procedure, patients should always inquire as to whether the surgeon is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) requires that a candidate complete prerequisite training followed by requisite training at an accredited plastic surgery training program. The candidates next must pass a comprehensive written exam which is usually taken within the first year or two after training. Finally, candidates must pass an oral examination which strenuously evaluates a candidate’s base of knowledge, judgement and ethical standards. Only after completing each of these steps are candidates considered board certified. The official term is a Diplomate of the American Board of Plastic Surgery. The ABPS requires re-certification every ten years.

When it comes to your health and your safety, what could be more important than finding a plastic surgeon who has been appropriately trained and who has proven their knowledge and ethical standards through a demanding and thorough examination process?


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