Why Your Plastic Surgeon Should Be Board Certified
Would you ask your allergist to do a skin graft after an accident, or have your gynecologist give you breast implants? Of course not. But if you sign up for plastic surgery without checking to see if your doctor is certified with the American Board of Plastic Surgery, that's just what could happen.
While it is against the law to
practice medicine without a license, anyone that does have a medical license can perform cosmetic procedures, regardless of their area of expertise. Cosmetic surgery can be a lucrative field since many people are willing to pay large amounts of money in the name of beauty. As a result, some
doctors claim to be plastic surgeons without any specific training in the field. Finding a doctor certified by the ABPS
is not only the best way to ensure they are qualified for the job, but also prevents costly and potentially disfiguring botched procedures.
What is the ABPS?
The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) is a certification board
which recognizes individual practitioners as competent to perform plastic
surgery on patients. But be careful, some doctors will use the term "Board Certified," without certification by the ABPS. Many different boards are out there, and most are non-accredited or unrecognized within the medical community. In some cases, these boards are even fraudulent, little more than a fancy logo and a name that sounds impressive. The ABPS is the only
plastic surgery board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties, the division of the American Medical Association responsible for accrediting certification agencies in the medical specialties.
What are the Requirements for ABPS Certification?
In order to apply for board certification from the ABPS, a candidate must have a degree in medicine from an accredited medical school, and be a licensed medical practitioner. The candidate must have spent five years as a surgical resident, with two years of the residency being within the specialty of plastic surgery. If these requirements are all met, the candidate is then eligible to sit for the oral and written test administered by the ABPS. Satisfactory completion of both components of the test will confer the title of "Board Certified" by the ABPS, and the doctor will then be listed on the ABPS registry.
How Can You Verify If a Surgeon is ABPS Certified?
Never take the doctor's word on his or her certification. It is essential to always do a background check yourself. This is easily done on the ABPS website, which has a searchable database by name and location.
Remember, certification isn't everything. There are many additional factors to consider when choosing a plastic surgeon, such as trust level, facilities, aesthetic ideal, portfolio, or references. But certification should always be a priority, that is, unless you don't mind getting a nose job from a dentist.
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