Best way to determine if the a surgeon you are considering or selected is a Board Certified Plastic and/or Cosmetic Surgeon??

What are the best websites to determine if a surgeon you are considering or one previously used holds the accreditation of being an actual Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and/or a Board Certified Cosmetic Surgeon? Is it true that the The American Board of Plastic Surgery website and The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery website are the most reputable and trusted? Are there any others sites or points of contact that can be recommended?

Doctor Answers 2

Board certification

A board certified plastifc surgeon is someone who has been boarded by the American Board of Plastic Surgery after extensive training and exams.  You can go to their website.  The ACGME certifies this credentialing process.


Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

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American Board of Plastic Surgery vs. American Board of Cosmetic Surgery

The "gold standard" in board certification in medicine is the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). There are 24 member boards and the only board within the ABMS which certifies plastic surgeons is the ABPS. The ABMS website has a link called "Is your doctor board certified," which will tell you of your doctor is ABMS board certified and more importantly, in what field. 

Many plastic surgeons, including myself, are certified by both the ABS and the ABPS because we completed a full general surgery residency prior to completing a full plastic surgery residency as well and then passing the rigorous testing of both ABMS boards.

Some surgeons will choose a shorter, less rigorous route of doing a "cosmetic fellowship" and then becoming "board-certified" by a non-ABMS board called the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, rather doing a formal plastic surgery residency and becoming eligible to take the ABPS boards.

The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery is not one of the "gold standard" ABMS boards.  It is a way for surgeons who are not plastic surgeons to market that they are "board-certified" in cosmetic surgery.  I know it's confusing to the public, but not all boards are the same.  

Your plastic surgeon should be ABPS certified. 

Perhaps a general surgeon or ob/gyn could probably "figure it out."  But there is a reason why ABPS board-certified plastic surgeons seek training in plastic surgery and then go through the testing required to be ABPS certified. In addition, to maintain the ABMS certification, surgeons have to continue lifelong learning through the  Maintenance of Certification (MOC). The reason is your safety.

Good job on doing your home work. Best wishes.

Luis H. Macias, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 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.