Researching your cosmetic plastic surgeon is an absolute must if you're going to get a breast augmentation. Even if your plastic surgeon has an excellent reputation, you still need to complete the research phase. Safeguard yourself against an under-qualified plastic surgeons who deliver sub-par results and expose you to 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 the website here and register for a free account. Once you're finished, you can search 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.
Step 2: Verify Licensure
Check if your doctor is licensed to practice medicine in the state he or she is practicing in. This information is readily available on your state's medical board 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.
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 American Board of Medical Specialties (AMBS). The ABMS also recognizes sub-specialties in plastic surgery, including hand surgery and plastic surgery within the head and neck. Certification for subspecialties require one to two 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 ABPS. You cannot pay to join the this society; there are stringent requirements a surgeon must meet prior to a surgeon receiving certification. No other "board" requires fulfillment of such strict standards.
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 claim plastic surgery as a specialty and can practice, regardless of training or the lack thereof. 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 all disciplinary action the board has taken against a surgeon. Many states include information such as educational background, insurance information, honors and awards, academic appointments, legal actions, and paid settlements.
*courtesy of the American Board of Plastic Surgery