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What Does It Mean for a Surgeon to Be Board-Certified?

The boom in cosmetic surgery has increased the number of plastic surgeons advertising themselves as plastic surgeons. But not everyone is qualified and experienced enough to perform plastic surgery. Therefore, you need to check the credentials of your preferred plastic surgeon to ensure they meet the standards to operate on you. This article explains everything about board certification.

What is Board Certification?

A board-certified plastic surgeon is a surgeon who has been awarded the necessary certificates by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). This certification is only given after the surgeon completes their formal residency training in plastic surgery and passes a rigorous exam. This exam consists of both oral and written tests, and it’s typically taken six to eighteen months after completing the training.

The oral test includes cases from the surgeon’s practice. It also tests the surgeon’s overall fitness to work as a plastic surgeon. The written test involves testing the surgeon’s proficiency in various aspects of plastic surgery. A surgeon must pass these tests to get the certification.

A plastic surgeon who has completed full residency training in plastic surgery should be able to perform a full range of plastic surgeries, including rhinoplasty, breast augmentation, facelift, tummy tuck, accident reconstruction, etc. During their residency training, plastic surgeons are expected to work full-time, spending more than 3000 hours per year under the observation and training of senior and board-certified plastic surgeons.

This training helps the surgeon learn how to plan, carry out, and follow up on different plastic surgeries. It also teaches them how to handle possible complications during and after plastic surgery effectively. This kind of training and certification is entirely different from the weekend training courses and certificates offered by boards that aren’t recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).

Note that not everyone who claims to be a plastic surgeon is board-certified. So, they may be licensed but without the necessary certificate from the ABPS. Some are still acquiring this certification, but they are already conducting plastic surgeries. Even licensed physicians can work as plastic surgeons as long as they’ve completed a residency in plastic surgery. But they must complete the exams mentioned above to become board-certified.