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America Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) certification

When choosing a plastic surgeon, many factors influence your decision, such as rapport during your consultation and referrals from family and friends. The most important consideration, though, is whether your surgeon is a member of the America Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

Depending on location, either the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) or the Royal College of Physicians of Canada certifies plastic surgeons that are members of the ASPS. The ABPS is the only board approved by the American Board of Medical Specialties that certifies physicians in plastic surgery of the face and body. Surgeons with ASPS certification meet the following requirements:

  • Graduated from an accredited medical school
  • Completed a minimum of six years of surgical training after completing medical school
  • Completed at least three years of plastic surgery residency
  • Passed comprehensive oral and written exams
  • Operate in state-licensed, accredited, or Medicare-certified surgical facilities
  • Complete continuing medical education yearly, including training in patient safety

Many cosmetic surgeons claim to be board certified, but only ABPS oversees plastic surgeon training. Do not let boards with the words “cosmetic surgery” in their names confuse you; the American Board of Medical Specialties certifies no board whose name contains those words.

Take the time to research your plastic surgeon, including which board certifications he or she has. Luckily, verification is easy. Look for your chosen surgeon via a number of search options online, or call the American Society of Plastic Surgeons directly at 1-800-514-5058.

After ensuring your surgeon has the desired certifications, look at the depth of his or her experience, especially as it relates to your chosen procedure. In addition, consider whether your surgeon’s facility is accredited, signifying its safety record is comparable to that of a hospital. Discussion of follow-up care is also important. The value of the consultation cannot be overstated. It is your opportunity to receive answers to your questions, so be thorough.

Dr. Vallecillos is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, and a diplomat of the American Board of Plastic Surgery

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