About Board Certification

Why Choose a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon?

When getting ready to embark on the journey of plastic surgery, research needs to be what drives your decisions. The doctor who performs your procedures needs to be an individual whom you trust: Your self-confidence and appearance depend upon his or her qualifications. When a doctor claims to be board certified, you want to be sure that the individual is a board certified plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS).

Is there a difference?

Claiming to be board certified does not have to mean ABPS board certified. Any doctor who practices medicine must be licensed in order to practice medicine. In addition, doctors may choose to be certified in various specialties or practices on top of the basic licensing. A physician may indeed be board certified, just not in plastic surgery.

What are ABPS requirements?

Not all plastic surgeons are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery; this is a strictly voluntary certification. To receive the certification, doctors must

  • Complete 16 years of college and graduate studies.
  • Graduate from an accredited medical school.
  • Pass a rigorous certification exam consisting of a 2-day written and oral test.
  • Complete 6 years of training as a surgeon in an accredited program which covers all surgical disciplines and has 3 years specifically focused on plastic surgery.
  • Go through the recertification process every 8 years.

Is being a member of the American Society for Plastic Surgeons the same as being certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?

Don’t confuse society membership with being board certified. Societies are professional membership organizations that have their own set of requirements in order to join. To find out what the society requirements are, contact each individual society. Board certification is standardized and rigorous, with specific requirements in order to gain the certification. In order to maintain certification, doctors must stay current on plastic surgery practices and techniques, ensuring their patients receive the finest care available.

Don’t just assume your doctor is board certified. You can easily find out by visiting the American Society of Plastic Surgeons site or calling (215) 587-9322. You should also check and see if your doctor has any complaints or disciplinary actions taken against him or her at docinfo.

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