What's the difference between board certified and AOA certified?

The doctors we are looking at for a breast lift and tummy tuck are board certified. One is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery; the other is certified through the American Osteopathic Association. Reading online there doesn't seem to be much of a difference. Can anyone confirm or aid in a decision? Is one better trained than the other?

ANSWERS FROM DOCTORS (2)


Answered by Joseph Cruise, MD

When seeking out a plastic surgeon to perform the cosmetic surgical procedures, you want to find a doctor that is a member of the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). This board certifies physicians in plastic surgery of the entire body, including the face, neck, and full body. These physicians have the most stringent surgical training requirements and have the highest standards of certification for plastic surgery procedures for the whole body and face, including procedures such as breast augmentation, abdominoplasty, and facelift.

It is important note is that medical societies do not grant board membership. However, in order for a doctor to obtain membership in certain societies such as the American Society of Plastic Surgeons or the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, they must be invited to participate.

In order to maintain certain memberships, the doctor must complete a specific number of continuing education hours each year, focusing on new procedures, patient safety, and other ever-changing areas in plastic surgery.

As breast lifts and tummy tucks are two of the most technically difficult of all cosmetic procedures, you not only want to be sure the doctor you select is certified as mentioned above, but that they have a great deal of experience performing both procedures and do so on a regular basis. Look at before and after pictures as well.

Best of luck!

Published on Nov 20, 2018

Answered by Joseph Cruise, MD (View Profile)

When seeking out a plastic surgeon to perform the cosmetic surgical procedures, you want to find a doctor that is a member of the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). This board certifies physicians in plastic surgery of the entire body, including the face, neck, and full body. These physicians have the most stringent surgical training requirements and have the highest standards of certification for plastic surgery procedures for the whole body and face, including procedures such as breast augmentation, abdominoplasty, and facelift.

It is important note is that medical societies do not grant board membership. However, in order for a doctor to obtain membership in certain societies such as the American Society of Plastic Surgeons or the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, they must be invited to participate.

In order to maintain certain memberships, the doctor must complete a specific number of continuing education hours each year, focusing on new procedures, patient safety, and other ever-changing areas in plastic surgery.

As breast lifts and tummy tucks are two of the most technically difficult of all cosmetic procedures, you not only want to be sure the doctor you select is certified as mentioned above, but that they have a great deal of experience performing both procedures and do so on a regular basis. Look at before and after pictures as well.

Best of luck!

Published on Jul 11, 2012


Answered by The Institute of Aesthetic Surgery

There are numerous practitioners of cosmetic surgery. However, only a select few are board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (the only board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties):

"The American Board of Plastic Surgery aims to produce safe, ethical plastic surgeons with an extensive knowledge of the entire spectrum of plastic surgery, who are able to represent our specialty in the highest standards. All patients seeking plastic surgery procedures should do their homework before choosing their surgeon. Certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery is a qualification not easily obtained, which demonstrates a high level of training and education, necessary for optimal results and patient satisfaction."

More specifically, board certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery ensures completion of a rigorous training program of at least 6 years (with at least 3 years of dedicated plastic surgery training). Board certified surgeons have also completed written and oral examinations to determine competency and participate in continuing medical education programs as a prerequisite of maintaining certification.

With regards to your specific question, you need to ask yourself: What is a cosmetic surgeon? What sort of training have they had?

When you are consulting with a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons, you know the answers. A cosmetic surgeon may be very skilled but there is no "board of cosmetic surgery" recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. Likewise, a general surgeon has not had specific training or certification in plastic surgery. Finally, many will claim board certification. However, the litmus test is not the presence or absence of certification but rather what board is certifying the physician.

Ultimately, certification ensures a measure of certainty when comparing surgeons. You can be assured that your board certified plastic surgeon (ABPS) has seen and treated it all before and is uniquely qualified to manage you pre-operatively, intra-operatively, and most importantly post-operatively.

Published on Nov 20, 2018

Answered by The Institute of Aesthetic Surgery (View Profile)

There are numerous practitioners of cosmetic surgery. However, only a select few are board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (the only board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties):

"The American Board of Plastic Surgery aims to produce safe, ethical plastic surgeons with an extensive knowledge of the entire spectrum of plastic surgery, who are able to represent our specialty in the highest standards. All patients seeking plastic surgery procedures should do their homework before choosing their surgeon. Certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery is a qualification not easily obtained, which demonstrates a high level of training and education, necessary for optimal results and patient satisfaction."

More specifically, board certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery ensures completion of a rigorous training program of at least 6 years (with at least 3 years of dedicated plastic surgery training). Board certified surgeons have also completed written and oral examinations to determine competency and participate in continuing medical education programs as a prerequisite of maintaining certification.

With regards to your specific question, you need to ask yourself: What is a cosmetic surgeon? What sort of training have they had?

When you are consulting with a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons, you know the answers. A cosmetic surgeon may be very skilled but there is no "board of cosmetic surgery" recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. Likewise, a general surgeon has not had specific training or certification in plastic surgery. Finally, many will claim board certification. However, the litmus test is not the presence or absence of certification but rather what board is certifying the physician.

Ultimately, certification ensures a measure of certainty when comparing surgeons. You can be assured that your board certified plastic surgeon (ABPS) has seen and treated it all before and is uniquely qualified to manage you pre-operatively, intra-operatively, and most importantly post-operatively.

Published on Jul 11, 2012


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