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FAQs | Plastic Surgery Procedure Specific Questions

Is Board Certification in Plastic Surgery the Best?

A. Board Certification status is one tool a patient can use when deciding on a surgeon. It tells the health care consumer about the training and examinations in the specialty field that a surgeon has completed. The training and testing requirements are listed in question #1. Consumers can compare the ABPS requirements for certification to those of the surgeon under consideration.

How do I choose a good Plastic Surgeon and what type of questions should I be asking my doctor?

A. Helpful questions to ask of the prospective surgeon include:
  • Is the doctor Board Certified and is that specialty area appropriate to the procedure you are considering?
  • What qualifications/training does the physician have to perform the procedure in question?
  • 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 you are considering a new procedure, how did the doctor obtain training for this?
  • Has the doctor had many problems or complications with this procedure?
  • Do you feel comfortable with that doctor?

ASPS and ASAPS have brochures available on how to choose a plastic surgeon and on many procedures which may be helpful. The websites listed above also contain good patient information on procedures.


Does that mean that an Otolaryngologist (or Dermatologist, Ophthalmologist) is not qualified to do plastic surgery?

A. Residency training programs in specialties other than plastic surgery do include some aspects of plastic surgery. For example, Otolaryngology training involves plastic surgery of the head and neck. Ophthalmology with an additional fellowship in Occuloplastic Surgery training includes procedures in and around the eyes, and Dermatology training can include laser procedures of the skin. We suggest you have a discussion with your physician about the procedure, and how his/her training has prepared him/her for the surgery you are considering.

What does it mean when a doctor isn't board certified?

A. Board Certification is an additional voluntary credential a physician chooses to obtain after medical school and residency training. It can mean that the surgeon did not complete the requisite training requirements for ABPS, completed training outside the Unites States or Canada, completed surgical training in an Osteopathic program, elected not to take an examination or was unsuccessful on the examination.

What does it mean when the doctor is certified by another board and/or society or academy (e.g. self-designated boards)?

A. ABPS requirements include the minimum of five years of surgical training outlined above. We recommend consumers contact the Board in question and compare the training and testing requirements of the other board to those of APBS in order to make an informed decision.
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