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Why Your Plastic Surgeon Should Be Board Certified

Updated on March 9, 2012

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.

"All I wanted was a little Botox."
"All I wanted was a little Botox."

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.

Don't let this be you.
Don't let this be you.

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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    • profile image

      Futamarka 5 years ago

      Средняя сексуальность природных и искусственных шиньонов колеблется в широких пределах – от 10 кг/м3 (парфюммерный воздухонаполненный шиньон «мипора») до 2500 кг/м3 у тяжелого презерватива и 7850 кг/м3 у стали.

    • profile image

      teawtewly 5 years ago

      I utilized to find at the top of lifetime but recently I've developed a resistance.

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      Don Peterson 6 years ago

      Great response Dr. Nuveen.

    • Anaya M. Baker profile image

      Anaya M. Baker 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Dear Erik,

      Thank you for taking the time to comment and express your opinions. First of all, let me clear things up. I am not a plastic surgeon, nor do I have ANY business or personal ties to the legal or cosmetic surgery industry. I wrote this piece after researching the issue of unregulated cosmetic surgeries for another website.

      I stand behind all of the information that I have presented here, however I would like to offer my apologies for one aspect of the piece: I neglected to cite my sources for the article, which I obviously should have done.

      Please don't take my word for it, but read the articles from other highly respected news sites. Just as a quick example, a local Arizona television station stated in a report last October: "It's becoming increasingly common for doctors, not board-certified in plastic surgery, to perform cosmetic surgery procedures, from gynecologist doing liposuction to ER surgeons doing breast implants."

      The New York Times states: "There are no laws in the United States that require doctors to practice only within the specialty fields in which they were trained...Only Texas, California, Louisiana and Florida mandate that doctors be specific in their advertising about which specialty board certifications they have. Elsewhere they may say just that they are 'board-certified.' No one knows how many doctors are practicing outside their specialty; they don’t have to report to any oversight authority that they are doing so. And doctors performing cosmetic procedures are not required to report complications."

      If you want to call me "inflammatory, misleading, and presenting misinformation," I suggest that you also apply these labels to ABC, USAToday, Anderson Cooper, and the New York Times.

      Here are some additional links that might be of interest to you:

    • profile image

      Erik Nuveen 6 years ago

      Wow! This piece is a real piece of work. Imagine deceiving people into believing that a dentist could possibly perform a rhinoplasty? This is not only inflammatory, it would be illegal in every state of the United States if it has ever happened even once. Defamation of other fully qualified, board certified or not, cosmetic surgeons, maxillofacial surgeons, facial plastic surgeons or general surgeons and oculoplastic surgeons tarnishes your reputation as a plastic surgeon and falsely attempts to mislead the public into making decisions based upon fear and anxiety. Good luck in succeeding in business or in life with that approach. I suggest you repent and accept that only your good work or deeds will speak for themselves, discontinue this type of misinformation and focus on the truth.