Posted May 06, 2016 in Plastic Surgery Advice
Many patients are unaware that in many states, including Florida, there are no laws governing the scope of work a doctor can perform once he or she has a valid medical license. This simply means that any physician with a valid medical license is allowed to perform plastic surgery operations and call themselves “plastic Surgeons”. Yes, that’s correct. Believe it or not!
Today, more and more physicians have opted to leave their field of medicine and become “plastic surgeons”. You will frequently find dermatologists, gynecologists, general surgeons, urologist and others without any formal training in plastic surgery performing plastic/cosmetic surgery on unsuspecting individuals who do not know any better. Unbelievable, right?
As insurance reimbursement has decreased in other medical specialties, more and more physicians without formal training in plastic surgery have left their chosen field and have now become “plastic surgeons”, taking advantage of the loophole in the law that allows this to happen. These physicians often advertise their qualifications as plastic surgeons without having been scrutinized by the highest certifying organization, The American Board of Plastic Surgery.
Board Certification and Pseudo-Board Certification
Don’t think that just because you see the term “board certified” behind a physician’s name, your search is over. Such an inquiry is complicated and can be very misleading.
You will frequently see advertising, in print, the web, television or radio that touts a ‘plastic surgeon” as being board certified. Don’t be fooled. Many of these quasi-plastic-surgeons have had no formal training in plastic/cosmetic surgery or they may be “certified” in a related or unrelated specialty, such as dermatology. Unfortunately, physicians can self-designate themselves in any category they choose without providing proof of board certification.
Today, there are hundreds of “Boards” with very impressive sounding names. Most of these are meaningless with a bare minimum pre-requisite to join. They exist to promote their own members and lend an air of legitimacy in the eyes of the public. Many of these “Boards” only require an admission fee and attendance at one of their meetings which often take place over a weekend. Meet requirements and you are now “board certified”. Really?
The American Board of Medical Specialties is the main body and overseer of medical specialty boards in the United States. The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) is the only recognized board in plastic surgery.
The American Board of Plastic Surgery and what it means to you
By contrast, in order to be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery a doctor must:
- Graduate from an accredited medical school
- Complete a minimum of 5 years of residency training, including 2-3 years of plastic surgery
- Be recommended by ABPS peers for eligibility
- Must successfully complete a comprehensive written examination
- After successfully passing the written examination, a candidate must submit a list of all operations performed in their second year of practice. This list is then scrutinized by the ABPS and a decision made whether or not the candidate will be allowed to sit for the oral exam.
- If allowed to sit for the oral exam, a candidate must the successfully pass a three-day oral examination.
- Practice ethical standards promoted by the ABPS
The term certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery is very significant and you should not settle for anything less. The term “board certified” in and of itself means absolutely nothing.
You’ve worked hard to get to where you are at. The decision to undergo plastic/cosmetic surgery is a difficult one and should not be made impulsively or taken lightly. Don’t you deserve to have your surgery performed by a surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery? I think you will agree with me that the answer is a definitive YES!