Is "Board Certification" the Same Thing for ABMS Vs ABPS?

There is a on-going argument in my city between physicians who are certified in another field (ENT)through ABMS and physicians who are certified by the American Board of Plastic Sugery which apparantly is not the same as American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. One saying they are the "real" plastic surgeons. Help??

Doctor Answers 5

Understanding Legitimate Credentials

Hi there-

The American Board of Medical Specialties recognizes the 24 specialties offering Board Certification based on an accredited residency training program, followed by rigorous written and oral examination of the candidate's knowledge, experience, and judgement. The American Board of Plastic Surgery is one of the 24 member Boards, and its Diplomates (those certified by The Board) are Board Certified Plastic Surgeons.

To become a plastic surgeon, we spend 6-8 years evaluating patients, performing plastic surgery procedures under the direct supervision of other Board Certified Plastic Surgeons, and then learning how to care for patients after surgery. And this is all before we are eligible to even take our Board exams...

The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery is NOT one of these boards, is NOT recognized by The ABMS, and requires only that the doctor have experience doing cosmetic surgery and an interest in cosmetic surgery... They may be ER doctors, eye doctors, family practice doctors, etc...

Who would you rather entrust with your safety and happiness?

Board Certification in Plastic Surgery

The American Board of Plastic Surgery is one of 24 specialities recognized by ABMS. The ABMS is the gold standard for 'Board Certification'. This is the organization who sets the standards for what is required. I have prepared a video to help explain why ABMS recognized specialties are important, and why you should carefully evaluate any non recognized specialty. You should know that there are many other 'boards' which do NOT have the strict standards of the ABMS.

Make sure your Plastic Surgeon is Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery!

Ricardo L Rodriguez MD

Ricardo L. Rodriguez, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

Credentials for palstic surgery

This is a long standing argument. There are many doctors "out there" that claim to be plastic surgeons but are not board certified by the ABPS which is recognized by the ABMS.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Choosing a surgeon

What someone says they are and what they actually are are not always the same. You cannot be a plastic surgeon unless you completed a plastic surgery residency any more than you can be a dentist without going to dental school. That does not mean that one is qualified or not to do a specific procedure or is the best fit for a specific patient to have a specific procedure. An ENT is an ENT and  a plastic surgeon is a plastic surgeon. The only exception is an ENT who has also completed a plastic surgery residency. I have performed revision nasal surgery after surgery previously performed by an ENT and I am sure the converse has also occurred sometime over the last 15+ years. Instead of focusing on a label like a real plastic surgeon it is better to focus on the specifics of the surgery you want performed and who you feel comfortable is adequately trained to perform the surgery safely with an optimal result. Common sense tells you do not have liposuction by a doctor who has only completed a Psychiatry or Radiology residency. I would definitely stay away from physicians who are not completely honest with their training background and call themselves something they are not. If they cannot be trusted before surgery while you are awake you certainly cannot trust them while you are asleep on the table. Choosing a surgeon is like negotiating a mine field so choose wisely by doing your home work.

Aaron Stone, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon


The American Board of Medical Specialties governs the traditional specialty  boards in the united States such as the American Board of Plastic Surgery, but not the American Board of Cosmetic Surgeons. All surgeons certified by the ABPS are plastic surgeons while members of the AMCS can come from fields not trained in plastic surgery.  In general, plastic surgeon have a much broader and extensive training than members of the AMCS.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.