Choosing the right surgeon will be the most important decision you make during your plastic surgery process. So how can you be sure that your surgeon has the proper training and education? Many patients assume that a physician or surgeon must be qualified to perform the procedures they’re offering, however, this is not the case. The only way to be sure your plastic surgeon has had the proper education and training is to make sure they are board-certified and properly credentialed.
What it Means to be Board-Certified in Plastic Surgery
A surgeon who is actually board-certified has been awarded by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), which is no small accomplishment! The ABPS works to ensure that plastic surgeons have gone through extensive education and training before they begin practicing plastic surgery. By doing this, the ABPS promotes safe, ethical, and effective plastic surgery practice. On average, this training includes 16 years of school after high school, including training specifically in reconstructive and cosmetic surgery. A successfully Board Certified Plastic Surgeon must also demonstrate that their approach to plastic surgery challenges is safe and effective through extensive oral and written testing.
My Doc says He’s “Board Certified”. Isn’t That Good Enough?
Unfortunately, many doctors with a general medical background look to profit off of cosmetic plastic surgery even though they have not had the proper exposure, experience and training. Don’t assume that a doctor who says they are board certified has been certified by the ABPS. If the board they are certified under is not recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), you can’t be sure that they have actually gone through the proper training and testing. For example, the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery is not recognized by the ABMS but many surgeons with this certificate will still call themselves “board certified.” To become a Cosmetic Surgeon, formal training in general surgery is required and usually additional training in cosmetic surgery. While this does not rise to the level of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery training, at least the surgeon has accomplished surgical training with additional cosmetic exposure.
However, you might also run into doctors who are certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine, Family Practice or even Pediatrics. Even though all of these boards are recognized by the ABMS, the training involved usually includes no formal training in surgery or plastic surgery and potentially little if any exposure to surgery at all. A weekend course designed to provide exposure to any procedure that is beyond the scope of practice in which the doctor was trained is simply inadequate and can put the patient at significant risk for danger. Do your homework and don’t be afraid to ask your surgeon about his or her training! Anyone properly trained and certified by the ABPS will be proud to answer questions about training and certification and will be delighted you asked.
If you are within travel distance to the Sacramento, CA area, you can trust double Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Sweat (American Board of Surgery, American Board of Plastic Surgery) with all your plastic surgery needs! Contact us today for more information or to schedule a consultation.