3 Steps to Selecting a Qualified Plastic Surgeon for Your Breast Augmentation

When considering a breast augmentation, researching your cosmetic plastic surgeon is an absolute must. Even if your plastic surgeon has an excellent reputation, you still need to complete the research phase. You certainly don't want to go to an underqualified plastic surgeon, achieve results that are less than satisfactory and risk unnecessary complications.

Three Steps to Selecting a Qualified Plastic Surgeon

There are three steps you should take prior to selecting a plastic surgeon:

Step 1: Verify ABPS Certification for Plastic Surgeons

Certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) is the gold standard for plastic surgery.

To verify a surgeon's ABPS certification, go to www.abms.org and register for a free account. Once you're finished, you can perform free searches on their site to find out whether or not a surgeon is certified.

*Certification by a specialty Board attests to 1) completion of a prescribed set of education and training requirements in a specialty of medicine beyond the minimum requirements for licensure; and 2) passage of examinations that test the fund of knowledge in that specialty. All specialties now also require maintenance of certification (MOC), which requires completion of specified continuing education. Assessment of performance in practice and successful completion of a further examination testing the fund of knowledge in that specialty are also required for MOC. Many health care organizations and health plans now require certification in order to provide services in the relevant specialty area. Board-certified physicians govern specialty Boards in that specialty.

*(courtesy of the www.abplsurg.org - American Board of Plastic Surgery)

Step 2: Verify Licensure

You will also need to check to see if your doctor is licensed to practice medicine in the state he or she is practicing in. You can acquire this information by going to your State Medical Board's website and doing a free online search.

In addition to verifying licensure, most state medical boards show any disciplinary action the board has had to take against the surgeon. Many states include information such as educational background, insurance information, honors and awards, academic appointments, legal actions, and paid settlements.

*Licensure is designed as minimum standard necessary to practice medicine. It is a public function, administered by the states. The standards are established through a public process and all actions taken both in granting a license and in restricting or withdrawing a license are matters of public record. Licensure is not specialty specific and permits an individual to provide to the public any medical or surgical service he/she desires.
*(courtesy of the www.abplsurg.org - American Board of Plastic Surgery)

Step 3: Verify Hospital Privileges

You will need to find out of your surgeon has hospital privileges. This is especially important if you are having surgery in an outpatient center or in your surgeon's surgical suite. In the event that complications arise during (or after) surgery, and you need to go to a hospital, you will want to know that your surgeon will be able to treat you at that particular hospital. Be sure to ask your doctor about the hospitals he has admitting privileges with, then call the hospitals to verify the information.

Importance of Certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery

The ABPS is the only plastic surgery board that is recognized by the AMBS (American Board of Medical Specialties). There are also subspecialties in plastic surgery that the ABMS recognizes. These include hand surgery, and plastic surgery within the head and neck. Certification for subspecialties require 1 to 2 years of education and training beyond what is necessary for a primary specialty. Click here to find out what is required of surgeons in order to become certified by the ABPS.

There are various plastic surgery or "cosmetic" surgery boards. However, none are as important as the American Board of Plastic Surgery. You cannot pay to join the ABPS. There are stringent requirements that must be met prior to a surgeon receiving certification. No other "board" requires that such strict standards be met.

Certified plastic surgeons have completed a surgical residency in plastic and reconstructive surgery. This includes at least five years of training, two of which are dedicated solely to plastic and reconstructive surgery. It is imperative that you choose an ABPS certified surgeon because any licensed medical doctor can call him/herself a plastic surgeon, and can practice plastic surgery, regardless of training, or the lack there of. Many patients are astonished when they learn that this is perfectly legal in the United States.

Importance of Verifying Licensure

In addition to verifying licensure, most state medical boards show any disciplinary action the board has had to take against the surgeon. Many states include information such as educational background, insurance information, honors and awards, academic appointments, legal actions, and paid settlements.

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