The Importance Of Board Certification In Cosmetic Surgery

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Board certified plastic surgeon. Those are the words you must see if contemplating any cosmetic surgery procedure. You might ask yourself “Does that really matter?”. The answer is an emphatic yes.

The number of reports about ‘botched’ plastic surgery has skyrocketed recently. A careful inspection shows that most of these so awful results where not performed by real plastic surgeons. Most of the surgeries reported in the media are performed by licensed physicians, but not board certified plastic surgeons. What’s the difference?

To become a board certified requires completing an approved medical school. Then there are a few options. Older plastic surgeons used to complete a 5 year general surgery residency followed by 2 years of plastic residency and sometimes an additional fellowship. (That was my path.) Another options is to complete a combined program with 3 years of general surgery and 3 years of plastic surgery. An additional path is to complete an ENT, Orthopedic, or oral surgery residency and then complete plastic surgery.

You can see that whatever path is chosen, the training is extensive. General patient care is learned first, then the fine points of cosmetic and reconstructive care. It is an extensive training program.

Lets look at some of the recent news posts about botched plastic surgery:

Nip/Tuck Nightmare: The Dangerous New World of Cosmetic Surgery posted on Fox News
Case of ‘uniboob’ a startling reminder to pick plastic surgeon with care posted on MSNBC
Lack of training can be deadly in cosmetic surgery posted on USA Today
British woman dies after botched butt ‘enhancement’ in a hotel also posted on USA Today
Non-surgical cosmetic options also have risks was another USA Today post
Each of these news articles are worth reviewing. They are scary and the should give you pause. Is your surgeon certified? In plastic surgery?

One more thing I want you to see. Watch this very short video, put out by the ASPS. The video is on the main page and is entitled “Do Your Homework”.

So please, do your homework. Make sure your surgeon is board certified in plastic surgery. Make sure your surgeon is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, so you know they adhere to ethical principles and lifetime learning goals. Make sure not to skip this step or you could end up on one of the ‘awful plastic surgery’ websites. I’m sure that is not the way you want people to see you.