The Importance of Board Certification for Plastic Surgery

Most plastic surgery patients don’t realize that all plastic surgeons are cosmetic surgeons, but not all cosmetic surgeons are plastic surgeons. In fact, some doctors performing cosmetic procedures are not surgeons at all. Legally, any doctor can perform any procedure. This means, for instance, that a psychiatrist could do a breast augmentation.

When evaluating plastic surgeons, make sure your doctor is board certified. A board certified plastic or cosmetic surgeon has graduated from an accredited medical school, completed at least five additional years of residency (typically three years of general surgery and two years of plastic surgery), practiced plastic surgery for at least two more years and passed comprehensive exams. Board-certified plastic surgeons also have to complete continuing medical education, and take a written test every 10 years.

When evaluating a cosmetic surgeon, check the doctor’s record. Disciplinary actions can be found through your state medical board. Also check that the surgeon has hospital privileges. Hospitals do background checks and vet surgeons, so this provides an extra measure of security.

Check if your doctor has performed the specific plastic surgery procedure that you are considering. Ask how many procedures he or she has performed, and be specific. And finally, contact the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (toll-free at 1-888-4-PLASTIC, or 1-888-475-2784) to get a list of surgeons in your area who perform a certain procedure and are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

Dr. Ali is a board-certified plastic surgeon with offices in West Bloomfield, Michigan. If you are considering plastic surgery, contact Dr. Ali for an initial consultation. Learn more…

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