What exactly are the differences in being Board Certified and having memberships in the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery AND/OR the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery? Can you have one without the other?
American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery vs American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery
Doctor Answers 3
Board Certified vs Memberships
In order to be a "member" of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, you need to be Board Certified in Plastic Surgery. Members of the American Society for Asethetic Plastic Surgery are also Board Certified. Memebrs in the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery are almost all NOT Board Certified in Plastic Surgery.
I know this is confusing, but those non-plastic surgeons who want a place in this field have created the confusion intentionally so you have a hard time sorting out real plastic surgeron from those who are not.
Membership in many medical societies requires board certification before becoming a member. For instance, to be a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the physician must first become Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic surgery, Inc. Not all boards are recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. Go to http://www.abms.org/about_board_certification/means.aspx to see what the criteria are. Basically it is a vigorous process of education, testing (usually written and oral) and re-testing. There are boards that are formed that are not recognized by the ABMS and these are formed by a group of physicians that get together and try to establish their own criteria for "certification". Oftentimes this is just documentation that the person is a physician and that they have paid a fee for membership and certification. So it is up to the "consumer" (patient) to ask questions about a physician, his/her training, certification, and experience. Check out the individual societies and boards and go through your local medical society, AMA, and the ABMS (noted above).
Go to: http://www.abms.org/Who_We_Help/Physicians/specialties.aspx to see if your doctors board is recognized by the ABMS.
The American Board of Plastic Surgery is the only one recognized by the ABMS for plastic surgery. There is a subspecialty certificate that is recognized for Facial Plastic Surgery for Otolaryngologists to do plastic surgery within the head and neck. The American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery is not recognized by the ABMS.
Board Certified vs. Membership
To achieve board certification a physician must complete a residency in that specialty and pass intensive examinations. Only certain boards are recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. The American Board of Dermatology would be one such recognized Board. The American Board of Plastic Surgery would be another. The American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery may give their members board certification but their members have not been through a residency program and their board is not certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties.
I hope that clarifies matters for you.
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