In a recent post, Newport Beach plastic surgeon Rob Kessler revealed some of the red flags to watch for when selecting a plastic surgeon. The first red flag he mentioned was if the surgeon is not board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Dr. Kessler wants to underscore that point by going into more detail about the importance of being board certified in plastic surgery.
Why It Is Important to Confirm Board Certification
It is imperative that you confirm your plastic surgeon is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (not the American Board of Internal Medicine or the American Board of Pediatrics or any other board). This is the gold standard by which quality plastic surgeons are judged.
Board-certified plastic surgeons have at least six years of surgical training, including at least two years of training dedicated to plastic surgery. They have passed rigorous oral and written exams testing their knowledge of the procedures. Also, they must adhere to strict standards of safety and ethics.
Technically anyone with a medical degree and license to practice medicine could perform plastic surgery procedures such as breast augmentation or facelift. However, do you really want a doctor who specializes in gynecology or pediatrics to perform face or body-altering cosmetic surgery? Think about the time and money you are committing to surgery, and the trust you are placing in the surgeon. For the safest experience and the best outcomes, you should choose a surgeon who has dedicated their training and practice exclusively to plastic and reconstructive surgery. These doctors understand how to avoid complications and what to do in the rare case that something does go wrong.
Some doctors are up-front about the fact that their focus and background are not plastic surgery-related. Nevertheless, others use slick marketing ploys to hide the fact that they don’t have the qualifications needed to perform plastic surgery. Keep an eye out for doctors that offer rock-bottom discount pricing or overly flashy websites lacking substance; this could hide inexperience or a lack of training.
Checking Your Surgeon’s Credentials
You owe it to yourself to spend some time and energy learning about your surgeon’s background and the type of care they offer. In addition to reading the biography portion of their website very carefully, use the following resources:
- Search for your surgeon’s board certification(s) at the American Board of Medical Specialties website. You can also call the ABMS at 1-866-ASK-ABMS and inquire about a particular surgeon.
- Check your state medical board to determine whether your surgeon is licensed to practice in that state. Look at the Federation of State Medical Boards
- Look at some patient reviews or testimonials of your surgeon. Although most online rating sites do not moderate their reviews, it can still be helpful to read them to get a sense of the surgeon.
For more information about board certification, please call 949.644.6544 or email Dr. Kessler’s practice today.