American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery - Does This Mean Board Certification?

A Doctor Who is a Board Member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, Does That Means He is a Certified Plastic Surgeon?

Doctor Answers 3

Board certification

In order to qualify as a board that can award certificates a group (Board of Dermatology, Surgery,Neurosurgery, etc.) must be listed with the American Board of MedicalSpecialities. There are no boards of specific procedures (such as liposuction or hairgrafting, etc.). Certificates of added qualificationare are awarded by some boards to those physicians who have additional fellowship training in subspecialty areas such as Hand Surgery. In order for new boards or certificates of added qualification to be allowed in the system members of ABMS must vote on the matter.The requirements or prerequisites for board examination vary from board to board. They include number of years of training, number & type of procedures performed, etc.. Some require passing a written examination before undertaking an oral examination. Some only require a written examination. Others require passage of a certain amount of time before examinations can be taken. Board Certificates, i.e. board certification,are given after the examinations are passed. Depending on the board recertification exams (usually written) are required every ten years or so.

Although a doctor may perform cosmetic procedures including those in the realm of plastic surgery that doctor is not really a plastic surgeon unless they have completed a plastic surgery training program, most of which are in university hospitals in the US. Even after completing this training the doctor is not certified until they have completed the board certification process. The American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery is not an ABMS recognized board and it's members cannot advertise their membership as board certification in California. Its members have training in a variety of specialties and may be board cerfitifed in those specialties such as Ophthalmology, Otolaryngology etc. A board certified plastic surgeon could become a member although I personally do not see an advantage to doing so.

When choosing a surgeon I would not place membership in this group as a prerequisite. For example in choosing a blepharoplasty surgeon there are many qualified Ophthalmologists, Otolaryngologists and Plastic Surgeons regardless of whether or not they are members of this group.

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon

NO--AACS most definitely does NOT mean board-certified in plastic surgery.

The ONLY true ABMS-accredited board for plastic surgery is the American Board of Plastic Surgery.  "Cosmetic surgeons" are typically not plastic surgeons at all--they are doctors in other specialties (family practice, internal medicine, OB/GYN, etc) who have decided at some point to take some weekend courses in cosmetic procedures and start doing them in their offices.

The American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery will allow any doctor to become a member, no matter what their training.  Just pay the fee, and you can call yourself a member.  Their website would have you believe that a cosmetic surgeon is better than a plastic surgeon for cosmetic surgeries, but I can't understand why someone who took some weekend courses would be better than someone who trained for YEARS.

If you look for the American Board of Plastic Surgery or the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, you'll know you've got a truly board-certified plastic surgeon.

Check my blog for a sad example of why it's important to seek a fully-trained plastic surgeon---the doctor in this video is a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, by the way:

Carmen Kavali, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery - Does This Mean Board Certification

Regarding: "American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery - Does This Mean Board Certification?
A Doctor Who is a Board Member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, Does That Means He is a Certified Plastic Surgeon

You are rightfully confused. You are not the only one. The confusion and dust kicking in the air are intentional.

Like many good things it all began with a good idea - to protect American from untrained or poorly trained physicians by having each recognized medical specialty set and verify a certain level of medical competence AND certify people who met that standard as having been so "certified".

To do so, the major medical specialties of American Medicine (such as Medicine, Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Neurosurgery and Plastic Surgery among others) got together and formed an umbrella group to which they all belong called - The American Boards of Medical Specialists (ABMS) whose stated purpose was to assure the American public received the best care by instituting and verifying high standards of specialty training, CONTINUED lifetime training and certification with EACH ABMS board in effect scrutinizing each member before certifying him/her as worthy of its certification diploma. (ABMS certified members are also called diplomates of such boards).

Once American hospitals began restricting NON-ABMS board certified MD's from their staffs and restricted the performance of certain procedures only to doctors trained in and certified by those specialty boards, the pressure on other non-specialist has increased. It only got worse as the American public realized the value of ABMS certification.

So what is a doctor who wants to "practice" Plastic Surgery to do who happens to NOT be ABMS certified? Without a board certification credibility, prestige and of course, profits, were in a free fall for these individuals. How about creating their OWN proprietary "boards" outside the ABMS organization?

As a result, we now have MANY privately owned "boards" and "academies" and every physician can claim he is "board certified" because the American public does not understand the bait and switch operation performed on them.

To learn everything you need to know on this topic, read the link below. After reading it, you can decide WHICH Plastic Surgeons, Obstetricians, Neurosurgeons you want to go to.

Dr. Peter Aldea



Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 83 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.