You should know that physicians may call themselves "plastic surgeons" even if they were trained in a nonsurgical specialty. Anyone who has a medical license can call himself or herself a surgeon, even if he or she has no formal training in surgery.
Some of these physicians without plastic surgery training may perform cosmetic surgery in their offices, but do not have privileges to perform these procedures at an accredited hospital.
Physicians who are trained in plastic surgery, and board-certified by the ABPS, may also perform cosmetic surgery procedures in their offices. However, these trained and board certified plastic surgeons will also have hospital privileges at accredited hospitals. You should ask about - and check on - your plastic surgeon's credentials and hospital privileges before undergoing any treatment or surgery. It is important that your doctor has hospital privileges to perform the proposed procedure, even in-office procedures. Hospitals give doctors privileges to do procedures that fit under their training guidelines.
When we refer to a plastic surgeon as "board-certified", we mean one who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. The ABPS is the only board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) to certify physicians in the full range of plastic and reconstructive procedures.
To be certified by the ABPS, a physician must have at least five years of approved surgical training, including a residency in plastic surgery. He or she must also pass a comprehensive written and oral exams in plastic surgery.
Your surgeon should complete a residency in plastic and reconstructive surgery accredited by the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). In addition, the surgeon should be comfortable performing the procedure in which the patient is interested. Having the right credentials does not necessarily mean the doctor is skilled in specific types of surgery.
Learn more from the American Board of Medical Specialties: www.ABMS.org.
Answers to FAQs about board-certification on the official website of the ABPS: www.abplsurg.org
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons:
lists of board-certified plastic surgeons by city & state in the U.S.; before and after photos; procedural information; surgeons national average fees; cosmetic surgery trends, and more.
Credentials: Training and Certification of Plastic Surgeons
There are many physicians today practicing plastic surgery who have received their formal training in another specialty -- often a nonsurgical specialty. These doctors may call themselves plastic surgeons, but they may not be trained in plastic surgery.
When we talk about a "board-certified plastic surgeon," we mean one who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), the only board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) to certify physicians in the full range of plastic and reconstructive procedures. To be certified by the ABPS, a physician must have at least five years of approved surgical training, including a residency in plastic surgery. He or she must also pass a comprehensive written and oral exams in plastic surgery.
Many physicians who call themselves "facial plastic surgeons" are trained in otolaryngology, a surgical specialty which includes training in plastic surgery of the head and neck. Physicians who call themselves "cosmetic surgeons" could be trained in any specialty, including a nonsurgical specialty, because anyone who has a medical license can legally call him/herself a surgeon even if they have no formal surgical training.
Membership in the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery is by invitation only and is limited to ABPS-certified surgeons who demonstrate wide experience in the major aesthetic surgical procedures.
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), founded in 1967, is the leading professional organization of plastic surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery who specialize in cosmetic plastic surgery. With over 2,600 members in the U.S., Canada, and many other countries, ASAPS is at the forefront of innovation in aesthetic plastic surgery around the world.
Source: The American Society For Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (surgery.org)
Links to more U.S. and international plastic surgery professionals, boards and societies: Resources