Many cosmetic surgeons are eye doctors, family practitioners, or other specialists not certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
Heres how you can find out if the plastic surgeon youre considering is qualified to perform your surgery: Ask the right questions. If you ask, Are you board-certified?, a cosmetic surgeon will say yes. After all, there are many boards; but some are merely dues-paying or pseudo-certifying boards.
How do you ensure that
your surgeon is a qualified plastic surgeon?
Steven M. Morris, M.D.,
says its important to ask, Are you certified by the American Board of Plastic
Surgery (ABPS)? Choosing a plastic surgeon whos certified by the American
Board of Plastic Surgery ensures that the doctor has graduated from an accredited
medical school and has completed at least five years of additional training as
a resident surgeon in a program approved
by the Accreditation
Council for Medical Education or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons
of Canada. This involves at least five years of residency training in all areas
of surgery, including two or more years devoted entirely to plastic surgery. A
surgeon who seeks this certification must also pass comprehensive written and
oral exams, and must be recommended for certification by other ABPS members. In
the Detroit area, there are many plastic surgeons certified by the ABPS, and
there are many doctors who perform tummy tucks, face-lifts, and breast
augmentation who arent board-certified by the ABPS. Is their work inferior?
Not always. But, given the choice between someone who has trained for more than
five years and someone who may have taken a one-day or a weekend course, who
would you rather have perform your cosmetic surgery? While dermatologists,
dentists, and ophthalmologists can and do perform cosmetic procedures, the
rigorous training that real plastic surgeons must undergo makes them the most
qualified to perform the delicate procedures and achieve the desired results
that cosmetic surgery patients expect.
Is it enough to be
The gold standard is the
ABPS. This is one of 24 specialty boards recognized by the American Board of
Medical Specialties (ABMS). While other medical specialists can be board-certified,
the ABPS is the only board that certifies those who have passed these rigorous
What about a high-volume
practice thats known for a particular procedure,
but its surgeon isnt certifiedby the ABPS?
In the end, it all comes
down to personal choice. But the question you first want to ask yourself is, Do
I want to shop for a surgeon the same way I do for a car or a stereo, or do I
performed by the
best-qualified person? A plastic surgeon certified by the ABPS is going to
have your aesthetic interests at heart, and he or she will have the right qualifications.
Those considering any cosmetic procedure should consult several ABPS-certified
surgeons. At the initial consultation, they will give you an overview of what
goals can (and cannot) be achieved.
What about staying ahead
Again, trust someone who
will under-promise and over-deliver. A plastic surgeon who relies on the
safest, most effective procedures will help you to achieve your desired
results. Beware of the
latest fad or fancy
technology in cosmetic surgery being used as a marketing tool. Yes, there are
amazing advances in the field, but a real plastic surgeon will know which
options are truly groundbreaking and which are not. Ultimately, the best way to
choose a plastic surgeon is to ask questions, research the procedure, trust
your instincts, and select a surgeon whos certified by The American Board of
HOW TO PICK THE RIGHT PLASTIC
Dr. Steven M. Morris, M.D.,
certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, recommends that patients ask
many questions during the initial evaluation. He recommends asking, at a
minimum, the following:
- What qualifications/training does
the physician have to perform the procedure in question?
- Is the doctor certified by The
American Board of Plastic Surgery?
- How many of this type of procedure
has he/she performed?
- How many of this type of procedure
does he/she perform each year?
- If youre considering a new
procedure, how did the doctor obtain training for this?
- Is the procedure right for me? Am
I a good candidate?
- Has the doctor had many problems
or complications with this procedure?
- Do you feel comfortable with that
doctor and the staff?