Choosing a surgeon can be a daunting and potentially confusing endeavor. One of the most important questions a patient can ask when seeking the care of a plastic surgeon is this: “Are you board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?” It is a very simple question with a very simple answer. Yes or no.
If the answer is no, you can be reasonably certain that the surgeon you are speaking with did not complete residency training in plastic surgery. If the answer is yes, then you have the reassurance that you are speaking with an individual who has successfully completed residency training specifically in plastic surgery, finished an arduous written and oral examination process to obtain certification, and committed him or herself to a lifetime of continuing education in order to maintain that certification.
Beware of surgeons marketing themselves as “cosmetic” or “aesthetic” surgeons. Beware of surgeons claiming to be certified by a board of cosmetic or aesthetic surgery. Beware of surgeons who state that they have “additional training” outside of the context of a recognized residency or fellowship. These individuals are, by and large, not plastic surgeons.
For more information about board certification, please visit the American Board of Medical Specialties at abms.org.