Choosing a Qualified Surgeon
The single most important factor in the success of your aesthetic (cosmetic) plastic surgery is the surgeon you select. Many people are surprised to learn that some doctors performing cosmetic surgery today have had no formal surgical training. That’s why you need to ask the right questions before you schedule a consultation.
Is the surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS)?
Surgeons with this certification have completed a minimum of five years of surgical training following medical school, including an approved residency program in plastic surgery. After training, a surgeon must pass comprehensive oral and written exams for certification. ABPS certification indicates a surgeon’s qualifications to perform reconstructive and cosmetic plastic surgery of the face and the entire body.
Don’t be confused by other official-sounding boards and certifications. The ABPS is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), which has approved medical specialty boards since 1934. There is no ABMS-recognized certifying board for “cosmetic surgery.”
Not every doctor who used the title “plastic surgeon” has the training to qualify for ABPS certification. In most states, any doctor with a medical license can advertise as a plastic or cosmetic surgeon. To verify a doctor’s board certification, consult The Official ABMS Directory of Board Certified Medical Specialists (available at most libraries), call the ABMS toll-free at 1-800-275-2267, or visit www.abms.org.
Plastic surgeons in Canada are certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. If you live outside the United States, check your surgeon’s affiliation with a member society of the International Confederation for Plastic, Reconstructive, and Aesthetic Surgery (IPRAS), or the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS).
Does the surgeon have appropriate hospital privileges?
Even if you are planning to have your surgery in your doctor’s office or at a surgery center, it is important to find out if your surgeon has operating privileges in an accredited hospital for the same procedure you would like to have performed. Before granting privileges, hospital review committees evaluate a surgeon’s training and competency for specific procedures.
Is the surgeon a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) or the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS)?
Members of these professional societies are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and are committed to the highest standards of patient care.