We are constantly telling our patients to look for a board certified plastic surgeon when considering a cosmetic surgery. Whether it is a breast augmentation, tummy tuck, rhinoplasty or liposuction, a board certified plastic surgeon is a must. But what does that board certification mean to you as a patient?
More and more often we see physicians with other board certification offering cosmetic surgery procedures because these procedures are elective and do not include the red tape of insurance companies. As such cosmetic surgery can a higher profit margin than many other medical specialties or procedures. In the Denver area alone there is a physician with board certification in family medicine offering Liposuction, and a Dermatologist offering “procedural dermatology” including Face Lifts, Tummy Tucks and Breast Reductions! By attending a class or seminar, a non plastic surgery specialist can easily offer cosmetic procedures.
ABPS – American Board of Plastic Surgery
The minimum requirement your cosmetic surgeon should have is to be board certified through the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Especially for a Tummy Tuck or body contouring surgery, I would not send a family member to surgeon that does not have this board certification. (The one exception would be a newly trained plastic surgeon that was board eligible in plastic surgery but had not yet taken their board examinations — with the recognition that this is a newer surgeon with less experience). To obtain certification from the American Board of Plastic Surgery, the surgeon must have completed a residency in plastic surgery. This insurances that the surgeon is well versed and trained in the intricacy of cosmetic based surgery.
ASPS – American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For me, ASPS membership is also a minimum requirement. The ASPS is the professional society for Plastic Surgery. It holds it’s members to the highest ethical, marketing and advertising standards in the business. As a patient, you can be sure that if your cosmetic surgeon is a member of the ASPS you’ll be getting a higher standard of care.
ASAPS – American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons
The ASAPS is the largest professional society of aesthetic plastic surgeons in the world. Membership requires ABPS certification and ASPS membership as well as submission of a large series of cosmetic surgery cases. The ASAPS claims it is “the mark of distinction in aesthetic surgery” and I don’t disagree.
Full disclosure — it is likely that I am biased given that I have completed two full surgical residencies, both related to plastic surgery and head and neck surgery, obtained board certification in both, and am a member in good standing of both the ASPS and ASAPS. But then, if your going to be choosing a cosmetic surgeon to complete your plastic surgery procedure, wouldn’t you prefer on with extensive training, years of experience and the highest standards rather than a surgeon who spent a weekend learning about a procedure?