Choosing a Board Certified Surgeon
It important to understand that all surgery – including cosmetic surgery – poses some risk. Therefore, it is important to carefully select a surgeon and surgical setting that minimizes this risk.
One of the best places to start your surgeon selection process is with board certification. However, it is often confusing to try to find a surgeon who is board certified for the procedure you are having performed.
Here are some things you should know about board certification.
- The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) certifies physicians in 24 medical specialties that are recognized by the ABMS. The role of ABMS is to act on behalf of the public to ensure that ABMS certified physicians have met educational and professional standards that warrant board certification.
- More than 100 boards have applied for ABMS approval, but only 24 specialties have been certified – meaning that their training and testing processes merit recognition of ABMS.
- None of the 24 ABMS approved boards includes "cosmetic surgery" in their name. Rather, the cosmetic procedures are buried in the underlying training of the boards. While some of the 24 ABMS approved boards may cover a very limited number of cosmetic surgery procedures, only the American Board of Plastic Surgery covers all cosmetic surgery procedures.
- There are more than 100 unofficial or uncertified "boards" that are merely a collection of physicians that have come together to establish a non-certified specialty board that does not meet the criteria established by the ABMS. These physicians operate under guise of a board, but, according to the ABMS, they do not have the specialty training required to perform the procedures and earn board certification of the ABMS.
- Many of the non-certified board contain "cosmetic surgery" in their names, but they are not recognized by ABMS and their educational, training and professional standards do not meet the standards established by the ABMS for cosmetic procedures.
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Another important criterion in surgeon selection is to be sure that the surgeon has hospital privileges to perform the cosmetic procedure in a hospital facility - even if the procedure is being performed in an outpatient facility. Hospitals provide another form of review to ensure that physicians have the necessary education and training to perform the procedure safely. In order to provide the cosmetic procedure in a licensed facility - hospital or outpatient – the surgeon must have permission to do the same procedures in the hospital.
The easiest way to evaluate the education and training of your surgeon is to select a surgeon who is a member of one or both of the two most prestigious professional societies for practicing plastic surgeons, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS - which represents 97 percent of board certified plastic surgeons) or the American Society for Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). This ensures that you have chosen a board certified plastic surgeon who has hospital privileges to perform your procedure and that your surgery will occur in a certified operation room. These are requirements of the societies.
Now read about choosing a surgical facility.
PAMF part of the Sutter Network has board certified Cosmetic Surgeons though out the San Francisco bay area.
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