Is a Certification From ABCS the same as ABPS For a Mommy Makeover?

I found a Dr that I really like with an American Board of Cosmetic Surgery Certification.. Is that adequate, or does he need to be a member of different societies? He is also a faculty member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Physicians. I'm doing a Mommy Makeover, and only want to do it once!

Doctor Answers (34)

Big difference

+3

I concur fully with my colleages.   The only certification in plastic surgery recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialities (ABMS) is board certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.    "Accept no imitations."   Approach with caution and visit with a plastic surgeon in your area who is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.   I've listed the website for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons - please use their doctor finder to find a plastic surgeon near you.  Best of luck.


Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 114 reviews

Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

+3
Thousands of physicians with no residency training in plastic surgery and without certification from the American Board of Plastic Surgery (the only Board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties that certifies plastic surgeons) promote themselves as `cosmetic surgeons' and `plastic surgeons'. Some are primary care physicians, some are emergency room doctors; some have never completed a residency training program in any specialty and are not eligible to take any specialty board exam. Many take `weekend courses' on liposuction, or breast augmentation, or facelifts, then return to their practice and begin promoting that procedure and performing it on patients.
The minimum amount of training in plastic surgery that will allow a physician to be eligible for certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery is five years, and many board-certified plastic surgeons, myself included, have several additional years of training in general surgery and plastic surgery. There are a number of reasons for such a significant training requirement. Chief among them are the following: one does not acquire sophistication in diagnosis and treatment planning, superior surgical skill, and the capacity to minimize the possibility of complications and unfavorable outcomes by taking weekend courses. It requires years of training experience under the direction of talented mentors. It requires devotion to the art and practice of plastic surgery.
Be careful in evaluating physicians whose `Board Certification' is by a `Board' which is not recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), and who belong to an `Academy' that does not require residency training in plastic surgery. Some will claim that they are `double-' or even `triple-board certified', when only one (and occasionally none) of those `boards' are recognized by the ABMS. Visit the ABMS website to see which specialties have ABMS recognition.

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Beware! You are probably not seeing a Plastic Surgeon

+3

I would strongly advise you to be very careful in going to a non-board certified plastic surgeon for plastic surgery.  The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery in not a real board, and does not represent real board certification.  This is a self appointed board without the rigorous requirement for training as with  the American Board of Plastic Surgery, which is the only board certification for plastic surgery.  The majority of members of the America Academy of Cosmetic surgeons are not plastic surgeons and have not had formal plastic surgery training.  In fact, the president of this organization is an oral surgeon. 

It is wrong to consider cosmetic plastic surgery easy surgery that anyone who wears a white coat can do.  It is serious surgery. Ask yourself, why are you not going to an expert for your medical care?  Would you go to a dermatologist for brain surgery?  Would you have had your child delivered by a psychiatrist?

But it is confusing, and the people who want to do plastic surgery and are not plastic surgeons are creating this confusion.  However, there is a simple solution.  Go to a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) -- we are all board certified..  Log on to our website at plasticsurgery.org, and look for the ASPS members in your area.  At the very least, have a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon.  As you said, you only want to do this once.  So, go see an expert.

I wish you all the best,

David B. Reath, MD

ASPS Member Surgeon

David B. Reath, MD
Knoxville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 83 reviews

Get thee to a plastic surgeon

+3

I can only stress to you - use a board certified plastic surgeon.  These doctor are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.  That is the only board recognized by the American Board of medical Specialties.. Members of the Cosmetic Surgery board could be trained in OB/GYN, dermatology or even internal medicine.  You can find a board certified plastic surgeon in your area by going to plasticsurgery.org .  This is a classic case of let the buyer beware.  Good luck and do your homework!  Dr. Schuster in Boca Raton

Steven Schuster, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

ABCS certification--this is NOT an ABMS Board, and this physician is NOT a "real" plastic surgeon.

+3

The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery is NOT an American Board of Medical Specialties member Board--it is a self-designated "board" that "certifies" physicians of various specialties who wish to perform cosmetic surgery procedures--doctors with significantly less true surgical training (and often only via weekend "courses") than American Board of Plastic Surgery-certified plastic surgeons. That is why they call themselves "cosmetic surgeons;" they are NOT fully-trained "real" plastic surgeons!

I like my Internal Medicine doctor a lot, but NO WAY would I want him performing plastic surgery of ANY KIND on me or a loved one. The same goes for Dermatologists, Family Practitioners, and General Surgeons, all of whom can obtain "certification" by the "American Board of Cosmetic Surgery."

Being a faculty member only means that this non-plastic surgeon "teaches" other non-plastic surgeons how to confuse gullible patients into thinking they will obtain care equivalent to that obtainable from a fully-trained, ABPS-certified "real" plastic surgeon!

Not even a properly-trained, American Board of Plastic Surgery-certified, experienced plastic surgeon can guarantee mommy makeover results, but you have a much higher chance of sucessful outcome and superior results with a surgeon who has completed the FULL training (6-7 years) to become a plastic surgeon, not just a few weeks, months, or just a couple of weekend courses after their training in an entirely different specialty that has little or nothing to do with plastic surgery..

Click on the link below for a New York Times article about this very topic! Then schedule some consultations with several "real" plastic surgeons--American Board of Plastic Surgery-certified. Best wishes and thanks for asking!

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 110 reviews

“Self proclaimed board versus a legitimate board”

+2

The multitude of alphabet soup organizations and boards is very confusing for patients. The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) and the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS) sound nearly the same, but there are vast differences. The American Board of Plastic Surgery is a real nationally recognized board, while the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery is a self proclaimed group of individuals who wanted to try to legitimize their entry into the field of cosmetic surgery without the required legitimate credentials (actual completion of formal supervised plastic surgery training and board certification). They have specifically chosen that name for a marketing benefit based on deception.

The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) oversees 24 medical specialty boards in the United States and is considered the gold standard of physician certification in the United States. While the naming of the boards seems similar, there is only one official plastic surgery board that is accepted in the U.S. and recognized by the ABMS as the standard for plastic surgery - and that is the American Board of Plastic Surgery. The designation as a Diplomate of the American Board of Plastic Surgery is reserved for surgeons that have completed a lengthy surgical residency training in plastic surgery, and then passed both the official extensive written and oral examinations under the strict rules of the ABMS organization. It is the highest standard available in the U.S. for plastic surgeons. Members of the American Board of Plastic Surgery are listed on both the ABPS’ and ABMS’ websites.

The ABCS and several other so-called boards with similar sounding names are not recognized by the ABMS.  ABCS is a self-designated "board" that "certifies" physicians of various specialties who wish to perform cosmetic surgery procedures--doctors who may have minimal if any true surgical training (and often only via weekend "courses”). They accept and credential physicians who do not necessarily have residency training in plastic surgery including general surgeons, emergency medicine doctors, family practitioners dermatologists, obstetric-gynecologists and others who can take their "certification" exam...without ever having undergone a single day of plastic surgery residency training. In some cases they have no formal surgery residency training at all.

Furthermore, there are no cosmetic surgery certifications that are recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialists, nor is there any “board”, organization or academy that has the word “cosmetic” in it that is recognized by the ABMS. In addition the Medical Board of California formally rejected the ABCS’ application and request to be recognized as having legitimate board status. That rejection was legally upheld.

An additional understanding of the alphabet of valid plastic surgical organizations is beneficial. Members of the American Board of Plastic Surgery are able to become members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). Membership is an indication of appropriate prerequisite plastic surgery training, board certification and adherence to a board of ethical practice guidelines. Members of the American Society of plastic surgery can be found at the American Society of Plastic Surgery web site. 

Board certified plastic surgeons in the United States as well as certified plastic surgeon from other countries can become members of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). These surgeons have appropriate prerequisite plastic surgery training, board certification, adherence to a board of ethical practice guidelines, and a specific focus and experience in aesthetic (cosmetic) plastic surgery.

Since there are risks in any surgical procedure and no one can guarantee a perfect result, a patient should seek the most fully trained individual for plastic surgical procedures like a “mommy makeover” to maximize the probability of a good outcome. Your health and well being depend on it. If a member of my family or staff were to undergo the procedure, I would insist that they seek out a real plastic surgeon who is board certified as a diplomate of the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

 

Robert Singer, MD  FACS

 

Robert Singer, MD
La Jolla Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Do your homework on board certification

+2

You have gotten very good advice regarding the difference betwen American Board of Plastic Surgery and American Board of Cosmetic Surgery.  It is very confusing for patients as the two boards sound nearly the same.  Intentionally misleading.  Read my blog post for more...

York Yates, MD - Utah.

York Jay Yates, MD
Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Not All Board Certifications Are The Same

+2

The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) certifies only surgeons who have completed both General Surgery and Plastic Surgery training in accredited residency programs and have passed a rigorous series of written and oral exams. They then may apply for membership in The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). Those who specialize in cosmetic Plastic Surgery may apply for membership in The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). You can be assured that surgeons with these credentials are well trained. The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery and several other so-called boards with similar sounding names are not recognized boards. They accept and credential physicians who do not have residency training in plastic surgery. In some cases they have no surgery residency training at all. This can result in a family practice doc doing your breast augmentation or tummy tuck. Bad idea! Look at credentials closely. Insist on ABPS and ASPS or even better, ASAPS in the credentials.

John Squires, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Don't be fooled by fake boards!!

+2

Stay away from this surgeon!!!!!!!! There are NO cosmetic surgery certifications that are recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialists. This is because you can get these 'certifications' by sending in a list of cases and some money. They do not require ANY actual training in plastic surgery. Don't be one of those patients who regret not doing their homework and wind up spending thousands of dollars but get bad results only because they did not go to a real board certified plastic surgeon. Don't fall for fake boards!!!

James McMahan, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 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.