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Although many of us have heard about seeking a “Board Certified”
Plastic Surgeon, very few of us actually know what that means. There are
at least five boards that certify doctors in cosmetic procedures. Some
names that you may be familiar with are The American Board of Plastic
Surgery, The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, The American Board of
Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, The Board of Certification
in Plastic Surgery, and several more.
What many people may not know is that many of these boards are private
organizations paid for by the members that are certified by the organization
that they pay for. Many people are led to believe that this certification
is by a federal or government agency. However, this is not the case.
What many of these boards do have in common is that they promote, market,
and sometimes advertise the individual members who pay them dues. Some
of these boards will go as far as to make people believe that they are
the only legitimate one.
So, this being the case, how can board certification be held out as a
good measure of a doctor’s ability? How can these paid boards be
legitimate or unbiased enough in order to protect consumers? How do you
know if the doctor you are considering is well trained or simply took
a weekend course?
The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) is considered one of the
most reputable certification boards in the United States of America. In
fact, the ABPS is the only board recognized by the American Board of Medical
Specialties to certify a surgeon in plastic surgery of the face and of
the entire body. Certified surgeons are eligible for membership in the
American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Individuals certified by the ABPS
must meet certain rigid requirements such as:
- Graduate of an accredited medical school
- Complete a combination of at least five years of progressive general
or speciality surgical training in addition to a plastic surgery residency
- Pass comprehensive oral and written examinations that are related
specifically to the field of plastic surgery
In addition to certification, membership in the American Society of Plastic
Surgeons (ASPS) requires surgeons to obtain continuing medical education
courses and conform to a strict code of ethics. In addition, all ASPS
members are required to perform their surgeries in an accredited surgical
facility. Certification by the ABPS is the “gold standard”
for plastic surgeons because such certification signifies that an individual
surgeon has had formal training in an accredited plastic surgery residency
program. Certification by the ABPS ensures that a surgeon has the ability
to perform both cosmetic and reconstructive procedures including everything
from liposuction to complex wound repair.
Board certification is only one way of determining a doctor’s competency
and ability to perform his or her job. Passing a test five years ago really
says very little about that individual’s ability now. In regards
to “Board Certified” one should look at what each board requires
of its members in regards to training and testing. What exactly does it
take to be certified by a particular board? Does that board require its
members to pursue continuing medical education and if so how much? Information
concerning such matters can be more thoroughly investigated at www.alohaplasticsurgery.com.
Information about what some different boards require and relevant links
can be found at this site.