where might I go to check out a physician's past training, years in practice, etc. Also, the new "hot" plastic surgeon in NY has a great reputation, but is only 41 yrs. old. Having physicians in my own family, I know most don't finish final training until their mid-thirties. I your opinion, has someone this young had enough experience. Thank you so much
Where to Check Plastic Surgeon Credentials and Qualifications?
Doctor Answers 5
Checking the Credentials of your Plastic Surgeon
There is only ONE organization that is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties which certifies cosmetic surgeons: The American Board of Plastic Surgery. Over the last several years there has been a proliferation of “Boards” with titles that include words such as “Plastic” and “Cosmetic” in them. Aside from The American Board of Plastic Surgery, NONE of these “Boards” are recognized by The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). Visit the ABMS website to see which specialties have ABMS recognition.
It is important that your physician has hospital priveleges for the procedure you are interested in having performed. A hospital has access to information and records that the general public does not. Hospitals also have tremendous exposure to liability for cosmetic surgery procedures performed within them. They therefore will only grant surgical privileges to physicians that can demonstrate appropriate training and experience.
Although many aesthetic cosmetic surgery procedures are not performed in hospital operating rooms, the fact that a hospital has granted a surgeon privileges for a given procedure ensures that the surgeon has met an accepted standard of competence. It also means that your surgeon will be able to take care of you at a hospital should any complications from cosmetic surgery arise.
If you are planning to have cosmetic surgery performed, you should do your due diligence to determine if your surgeon has the appropriate credentials. When considering plastic surgery it is wise to also checkc with the medical board in your state to obtain information about your surgeon
Michael Law MD
Raleigh, North Carolina Plastic Surgeon
What does a board certified plastic surgeon have to do?
I wholeheartedly agree with Dr. Law and Dr. Salemy. Many people are confused about what training a board certified plastic surgeon has received and confused about what a board certified plastic surgeon is. Here's the breakdown:
1. Finish College
2. Finish Medical School -> now you're an MD - you can perform medical procedures and medical evaluation under a training program license. Most training programs provide malpractice insurance. You cannot practice medicine on your own (legally) in any state in the US without additional training.
3. Finish Residency training in a particular field -> now you can become licensed. - Once you are licensed you can "hang a shingle" and begin practicing. You can apply for hospital privileges, participate in insurance programs (blue cross) and practice medicine.
This is where people (rightfully so) begin to get confused. ANY MD can perform ANY medical procedure. (This is CERTAINLY NOT to say they should, but legally they can). So an OB-GYN can perform a brain tumor excision.
Now there are limits that can be imposed by hospitals (most hospitals will not grant privileges outside of your training). But surgery centers and certainly private offices may not have these restrictions. And if a physician is sued for practices outside of training they may be dropped by an insurance carrier. (you also need to pass three certification exams between medical school and residency to become license eligible).
4. Board Certification For plastic surgery there is only one recognized certification and that is the American Board Of Plastic Surgery. To be board certified a physician must:
A. Graduate from a recognized plastic surgery residency;
B. Apply for the boards and take and pass a written test;
C. Collect cases for nine months (this was increased this year from six) after which time these cases are reviewed and if deemed to be of appropriate standards a second oral exam is given about selected cases the physician has performed and unknown cases. Then they can say they are a board certified plastic surgeon.
Plastic surgeons board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery have undergone the strictest review and certification available for both technique, judgement and ethics.
I hope this helps.
Steven Williams, MD
Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Credentials
Plastic surgeons vary in their education and training. When choosing a plastic surgeon, you should consider the following points:
- How comfortable are you when you speak to them
- Do they listen to your questions
- Are you confident they can manage complications, if they occur
- Are they taking any shortcuts.
In terms of credentials, ask the office about the following checklist:
- Is the surgeon Board Certified in Plastic Surgery by the American Board of Plastic Surgery
- College education?
- Medical school education?
- General Surgery training?
- Plastic Surgery training?
- What area does the plastic surgeon focus on.
All Board Certifications are not the same
There are many online sources that can help you find the information you're looking for.
Remember that there are a lot of doctors out there that say they are "Board Certified", but there is only one plastic surgery board that is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties, and that is the American Board of Plastic Surgery. In order to be Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, the surgeon must be admitted to and complete training at a fully accredited American plastic surgery training program (residency or fellowship) for several years, pass a written exam, be in practice, and then pass a 3 day oral exam, during which his own personal surgical results are scrutinized by a team of experts. This process takes a couple of years to complete after the training is finished, so it is no easy task, and it is no surprise that some surgeons choose not to undertake this process (even some that become TV celebrities...).
The websites that may be of help to you include:
American Board of Medical Specialties-- you can put any doctor's name in their database and it will tell you if they are Board Certified and by which Board (Plastic Surgery, Dermatology, Otolaryngology, Family Practice, etc)
American Board of Plastic Surgery-- this will give you some info on Board Certified Plastic Surgeons
In reference to the second part of your question, I don't think there is an absolute age cutoff that is too young or too old. It really comes down to the individual, their training, their certifications, their results, and ultimately your comfort level with them. You can have an outstanding result with someone who is 35, 65 or anywhere in between, but you have to do your homework first to make sure they're the right surgeon for you.