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All Board Certification is not equal

In Plastic Surgery Complications, Plastic Surgery News by Dr Brown

Patients continue to be confused or misled from deceptive or less than forthright presentations of training and qualifications when it comes to cosmetic, plastic surgery and non surgical enhancements. The most common deception is the ‘board certifiedtag line in an advertisement. This appears to be the one line that patients look for when it comes to considering cosmetic enhancements, and the deception comes in the lack of ‘full disclosure’ of what the physician was actually trained in and/or what board exam they actually passed.

Physicians typically undergo additional training after 4 years of medical school. This additional training is called a residency. The residency period may be as short as one year or as long as six years. After a residency, some physicians, typically surgeons, may complete a second residency for additional training and certifications to further refine their areas of practice. After a residency or two, some physicians may spend an additional 6 months to 2 years in more training called fellowships. Fellowships may be acredited or non-acredited, meaning that they may be recognized by higher governing bodies as more valuable in educational experiences.

It is typically after a residency that a physician takes an examination (written and oral) to become board certified in what they have just been trained in. So being board certified means nothing if you do not know what they are board certified in. Every patient should ask what board the doctor is certified in and who is the regulatory body of the board. For example, the most credible boards (those used by hospitals to award priviledges) are governed by the American Board of Medical Specialties, ABMS. This is the premier board created to serve and protect patients. The American Board of Plastic Surgery is one of the 24 sub boards of the ABMS. This is the board that hospitals and lawyers check for when determing credentialing and expert status. The American Board of Plastic Surgery is the only board recognized as plastic surgeons, by the ABMS.

Unfortunately in the public’s eye, this is often overlooked or not understood. A doctor who completed a residency in OB/GYN, or Dermatology, Emergency Medicine can claim to be ‘board certified’, but they are board certified in those fields, not plastic surgery. Dentists, Oral surgeons, and any other doctor can also make these claims. They support their misleading advertising by joining a board that was created by others like them. They have created the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, which is not recognized as a credible board by the ABMS or nearly all hospitals in every state in the US. In essence it is a board to support deception to the public. It is not against the law, and it is not their responsibility to inform a patient about its origins. The question to the public has to be, who do you really want performing procedures on you? It can be even more concerning because members of this American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, have created their own society to pad their credentials even further. The American Society of Cosmetic Surgery is this society.

Remember, ask what they are board certified in?, is it a member of the ABMS? and then think to yourself, is this what I am seeing this doctor for? You should not want a gynecologist to inject fillers into your face, or a dermatologist to do liposuction, or an ears, nose and throat surgeon to perform your breast augmentation or tummy tuck.

So when seeking to improve your looks be sure to look intelligently and ask the right questions to the right type of doctors and avoid complications before you get them. Do your homework, and compare to apples to apples and avoid the lemons.