WHY A ‘BOARD-CERTIFIED COSMETIC SURGEON’ ISN’T A PLASTIC SURGEON, AND WHAT THAT MEANS FOR YOU
When selecting an aesthetic surgeon, many patients place trust in knowing their surgeon is a ‘board-certified’ plastic surgeon,” Dr. Drolet and coauthors write. “Many patients falsely assume all surgeons must be board-certified in plastic surgery in order to perform cosmetic procedures.”
In a study published recently in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), Brian C. Drolet, MD, of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tenn, and colleagues reviewed online information to assess residency training history and advertised scope of practice for 342 American Board of Cosmetic Surgeons (ABCS)-certified physicians.
Cosmetic surgery is not just another way of saying plastic surgery. Doctors who advertise themselves as certified by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS) don’t measure up to meet the criteria required for board-certified plastic surgeons to be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS).
A board-certified plastic surgeon must have at least six years of surgical training, including completion of an accredited plastic surgery training program. They must perform thousands of cosmetic and reconstructive surgery procedures of different types, pass rigorous written and oral examinations, and commit to continuing education and assessment throughout their careers.
However, a cosmetic surgeon, board certified by ABCS, is asked to complete only 1 year of surgical training, experience 300 procedures, and one written and oral examination completed during a single weekend, with no continuing medical education requirements. “Our review of ABCS diplomate training backgrounds revealed nearly ten percent of ABCS members were not even trained in a surgical discipline,” the researchers write.
These differences are so pronounced that in 2018 the Medical Board of California concluded ABCS certification is not equivalent to ABMS Board Certification by American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), and that ABCS diplomates cannot advertise themselves as “board-certified.”
Dr. Jonathan Ross Berman is a Boca Raton plastic surgeon who has been certified by both the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Otolaryngology / Head and Neck Surgery with over 30 years of service experience specializing in Breast Augmentation, Rhinoplasty, Face Lift, Liposuction, and many other types of plastic surgery in Boca Raton, FL.