What Does It Mean to Be a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon? 

Board-certified plastic surgeon is a term you may hear a lot if you’re considering plastic surgery. It sounds impressive, but many of us may not really understand what it means.

As a plastic surgery office headed by board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Fodero, we wanted to give you a clear explanation of what it means for a surgeon to be board certified and why it’s an important distinction for you to consider as you search for a plastic surgeon.

What is a board-certified plastic surgeon?

A board-certified plastic surgeon is one who has:

  1. Completed the additional training and education requirements established by The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), and
  2. Passed comprehensive exams given by the ABPS that cover the entire spectrum of plastic surgery.

Board certification only lasts for 10 years. Additional requirements must be met for the surgeon to maintain their certification for another 10 years. That shows their dedication to learning current surgical techniques and methods.

What is the American Board of Plastic Surgery?

The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) is a non-profit organization that was established in 1937. Its mission is to promote the safe, ethical, and effective practice of plastic surgery for the public.

Aren’t all plastic surgeons board certified?

No, but that is a common misconception. It’s important to realize that board-certification is a voluntary credential and not required to practice surgery. Those surgeons who are board certified have chosen to pursue additional education and training beyond their medical school training and residency program.

Do I have to choose a board-certified plastic surgeon?

Choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon is a personal decision. If your surgeon has a medical license from a state medical board, then he or she may legally practice plastic surgery, whether or not he or she is board certified.

Keep in mind that another advantage of choosing a board-certified surgeon is that you can verify their certification with ABPS and see if their medical licenses are still in good standing or have been revoked for any reason.

Is being board certified in cosmetic surgery the same as being certified in plastic surgery?

No, the certifications are not the same. The plastic surgery certification given by ABPS includes training and exams that cover cosmetic, reconstructive, facial, cranial, and hand surgery techniques. A separate organization that is not affiliated with ABPS maintains responsibility for certifying cosmetic surgeons. We recommend that you compare the training and testing requirements of the other boards to those of ABPS in order to make an informed decision.

What if my surgeon is a member of another medical society or association?

It is recommended that you contact any societies or associations to verify their specific membership requirements. Membership in these other organizations does not necessarily mean that someone has gone through the years of training to become a plastic surgeon or even a surgeon for that matter.

What’s the bottom line?

Generally speaking, it’s recommended that you properly verify any doctor’s credentials. A surgeon can claim to be “board certified” but not list a specialty. So, that doctor could actually be board certified in internal medicine, even if they are performing plastic surgery. There are no laws in the United States that prohibit doctors from performing procedures that they are not necessarily trained to do.

We recommend finding a board-certified plastic surgeon. An ABPS certification is recognized as the “gold standard” in physician certification.

Northeastern Plastic Surgery understands your desire for a beautiful, youthful looking body and facial appearance. We use the latest plastic surgery techniques to perform a variety of surgical procedures. Dr. Fodero and the staff are very friendly, helpful, and available to answer any questions you may have about the procedures we offer. We strive to ensure that your experience with us is positive. Please contact us today to learn more about the services we offer.

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