Frequently Asked Questions

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Why Should I Select a Plastic Surgeon Certified Through the American Board of Plastic Surgery?

Plastic surgeons who are certified through the American Board of Plastic Surgery are trained to perform surgery. It may sound obvious, but many people don’t realize that only some of the 24 medical specialties recognized by The American Board of Medical Specialties include surgical training. Plastic surgery is a surgical specialty.

Plastic surgeons are experts in both facial and body procedures. Board-certified plastic surgeons complete a minimum of five years of surgical training following medical school, including a plastic surgery residency program. In-depth training encompasses surgical procedures of the face and the entire body.

Plastic surgeons are trained to prevent and, if necessary, handle emergencies. A comprehensive education, including a sound foundation in anatomy and physiology, provides plastic surgeons with an in-depth knowledge and understanding of all body systems, including ventilation, circulation, fluid and electrolyte balance, all of which are vitally important to patient safety.

Plastic surgeons’ training develops technical skill and aesthetic judgment. Experience gained during years of training in complex reconstructive surgery provides plastic surgeons with outstanding technical skills. Additionally, however, the continuous attention to form as well as function provides these specialists with a finely tuned sense of aesthetics – a unique qualification that is critical to the success of cosmetic surgery where judgments of balance and proportion are called upon.

Plastic surgeons have access to a wide range of potential treatments. Of all the different medical specialists, plastic surgeons have the training to offer their patients the entire scope of cosmetic treatment modalities. Their recommendations are not limited by lack of training or inability to obtain hospital privileges to perform complex procedures when necessary.

What Questions Should I Ask During My Consultation?

What experience does the doctor have in performing this procedure? Ask what training has been completed, especially in new techniques, as well as how often he or she performs the procedure. Ask when the doctor most recently performed this procedure.

What are the possible risks? There are risks with any surgical procedure. Ask your doctor to outline and discuss what they are, how often they occur, and how they will be handled if they do occur. If the doctor does not openly discuss the risks and complications associated with the procedure or says that there are no risks, seek another opinion.

What is the expected recovery for the procedure? Important points to discuss are postoperative restrictions on activity and typical time periods for resuming work and social activities.

How much will the surgery cost? Reconstructive surgery is generally covered by most health insurance policies, although coverage for specific procedures and levels of coverage may vary greatly. Because it is elective, cosmetic surgery is usually not covered by insurance, and payment is required in advance. Costs include the surgeon’s fee and fees for the surgical facility and anesthesia. Other possible costs are the preoperative physical and blood work, medications, surgical garments, and private-duty nursing. While it is tempting to “bargain shop”, the training, certification, and experience of your surgeon are the most important factors in the success of your surgery. Select your surgeon with careful consideration; this is not an area for compromise.

What Is a Certificate of Added Qualifications in Surgery of the Hand?

Hand Surgery is a specialized field of medicine that includes the investigation, preservation, and restoration by medical, surgical, and rehabilitative means of all structures of the upper extremity directly affecting the form and function of the hand and wrist.

In 1982, the American Boards of Orthopaedic Surgery, Plastic Surgery, and Surgery were asked by the American Association for Hand Surgery and the American Society for Surgery of the Hand to consider special recognition of those Diplomates of these Boards who had demonstrated special qualifications in Surgery of the Hand.

The three Boards applied to the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) for authorization to offer a Certificate of Added Qualifications in Surgery of the Hand, which was granted. The ABMS intends the Certification in the Subspecialty of Surgery of the Hand for only those surgeons who, by virtue of additional fellowship training, practice characteristics reflecting a major commitment to Hand Surgery, and through contributions to this field, have demonstrated qualifications in hand surgery that deserve special recognition.

To qualify for Certification in the Subspecialty of Surgery of the Hand, a surgeon must, among numerous other requirements, have been in the active practice of hand surgery for at least two years following the completion of formal training, have as his major professional activity the field of plastic surgery, hold full operating privileges in an accredited hospital and have successfully passed all examinations prescribed by the Joint Committee on Surgery of the Hand of the American Boards of Orthopaedic Surgery, Plastic Surgery, and Surgery.

Candidates who enter a fellowship in Surgery of the Hand (as of 1999 or later) must enter and satisfactorily complete a one-year fellowship accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Hand surgery fellowship and plastic surgery residency requirements must be fulfilled, with submission of a list of at