If you’ve made the decision to undergo plastic surgery, you might have heard how important it is to ensure your doctor is board certified. After all, that board certification essentially means that your plastic surgeon has been vetted by a group of peers, and has undergone rigorous testing. Without this certification, how can you know your doctor is going to provide you the stellar medical treatment you deserve?
That’s why it’s so important to understand how to vet potential plastic surgeons for board certification. Here are a few tips to make sure that the plastic surgeon you choose is safe, reliable, and going to give you the best treatment possible:
- Check the plastic surgeon’s website to see if they’re board certified. This step is usually the first one you should take, as this can help you narrow down the good plastic surgeons from the ones you should avoid at all costs. Write down the names of the different boards they’ve been certified by.
If that information isn’t readily available on their website, or they say they’re board-certified without revealing which boards have certified them, avoid working with this plastic surgeon. Most professionals will be completely upfront and clear about that information.
- Ask how long a potential plastic surgeon was in training Typically, plastic surgeons train in general surgery for 3-5 years as a resident after medical school. They then go onto further plastic surgery training for 2-3 years and then even further to a fellowship for another year of more specialized training.
- Check out the boards that certified the plastic surgeon. The main board to look out for is the American Board of Plastic Surgery. If you’re not sure if your plastic surgeon has been board certified by then, you can visit abplsurg.org to find out.
Once a plastic surgeon is board certified, he or she is eligible to join the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS, www.plasticsurgery.org) and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS, www.surgery.org). These societies require their members to follow strict guidelines for patient care and practice management (Dr. Doherty is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and a member of both ASPS and ASAPS.
Remember, you’re perfectly within your rights to ask a plastic surgeon about his or her credentials. Currently, there are other physicians with nontraditional training that have started doing cosmetic treatments that have not followed the traditional training path and might have different credentials.