simply means a physician has been given a Board Certification by an organization
called a "Board". This includes formally recognized entities such as theAmerican Board of Plastic Surgery
but may include unrecognized boards. This can create significant confusion with
Board Certified in Plastic Surgery means
that a surgeon has been awarded "Board Certification" by the American Board of
Certification in Plastic Surgeryis awarded only after finishing
A formal residency in Plastic Surgery
Passing a rigorous
(usually taken 6 or 18 months after completion of all training)
oral examination which
includes cases from a surgeon's own
practice (usually taken at least 18 months following completion of
Certification in Plastic Surgerycan only be awarded by theAmerican Board of Plastic Surgery.
Board Certification in Plastic Surgerycan
notbe awarded by any other organization.
No other board can give the
distinction of "Board Certified Plastic Surgeon" including the following:
American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
(approved training in plastic surgery in the area of the head and neck only,
formal plastic surgery training encouraged but not required)
American Board of Cosmetic Surgery
(not a recognized Board by the ABMS, no formal plastic surgery fellowship
State Medical Board
(grants medical licenses, not board certifications). These
organizations do not require formal residency training in plastic surgery.
members of the ASPS may display this symbol and ALL members of the ASPS
are required to be Board Certified in Plastic Surgery.
Plastic Surgeons awarded Board Certification by the American Board of Plastic
Surgery may state
Certified in Plastic Surgery".
It is known that
physicians who are not Board Certified in Plastic Surgery may still state simply
"Board Certified" without specifying by whom they are certified. They may
advertise plastic surgery but only have a Board in another field, such as
General Surgery or Pediatrics, or may make statements such as "Cosmetic Surgery
Board Certified", "Board Certified by the State Medical Board" etc.
These doctors may not display the above displayed ASPS symbol and may not state
specifically "Board Certified in Plastic Surgery."
Only surgeons awarded Board
Certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery may state specifically
"Board Certified in Plastic Surgery."
Do not be afraid about asking your doctor about their Board
Certification. Any legitimately Board Certified physician is happy to be asked
about this and will freely review their credentials. Board Certifications of any
physician also can be confirmed easily on the
American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS)
Not all physicians
claiming to be plastic surgeons are Board Certified in Plastic Surgery:
licensed physician legally can call himself or herself a cosmetic surgeon.
Some may be on track for
Board Certification in Plastic Surgery but may not yet have accumulated the
cases or practice requirements after plastic surgery training, which may take
Many doctors are in
practice today who claim to be "Plastic Surgeons" and have not, and never will,
finish a Plastic Surgery residency. Some may have finished training but cannot
pass their exams, or may have other reasons for not finishing the requirements
for Board Certification in Plastic Surgery.
In the United States,
physicians are generally licensed as "medical practitioners" (for example given their medical license) by the State Medical Board. Federal laws
do not govern the quality of
specialty training or dictate the procedures a physician may aspire to perform.
a medical school graduate
with a medical license can legally claim to be a specialist of his or her own
choosing, with or without residency training in that specialty.
This means that,
legally, even a doctor only
trained in another field, such as general surgery, can legally place breast implants, or
a pediatrician can legally do
facial lasers or legally even
perform procedures such as brain surgery.
Institutions, such as
hospitals, will grant privileges (the allowance to perform certain procedures)
only to properly trained physicians. For that reason, a hospital will only allow a
Plastic Surgeon to perform breast implants just as it would only allow a
neurosurgeon to perform brain surgery.
Physicians who have their own surgery centers
are not subject to such oversight.Here, physicians who have not had
specialized training are legally
allowed to perform procedures outside of their area. This is why the consumer /
patient must carefully check their doctor's training and background.
Contrary to some claims, the state
medical boards do not grant Board Certification. As a
result, a doctor can be licensed but not
"board certified" by the
Medical Board of California.
Only the major
specialty boards, such as the American Board of Plastic Surgery, can grant Board
Certifications in major specialties. Major specialty boards include boards such
as the American Board of Plastic Surgery, the American Board of Orthopedic
Surgery, the American Board of Pediatrics etc. The organization which oversees
the major boards is the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). The 24
member boards, as well as the names of every board certified
physician in every ABMS recognized specialty can be found on the ABMS website
within weeks of that physician's Board Certification.
The American Board of
Plastic Surgery is one of only 24 accredited specialty boards recognized by the
American Board of Specialties.
These are the major specialty Boards such as:
The American Board of
Plastic Surgery, Inc. was organized in June 1937 by representatives of various
groups interested in this type of surgery and received recognition as a
subsidiary of the American Board of Surgery in May 1938. The American Board of
Plastic Surgery, Inc. was given the status of a major specialty board in May
1941 by action of the Advisory Board for Medical Specialties.