Difference Between ABPS and ABFPRS Board Certification?

What is the difference between being board certified with ABPS and ABFPRS? Is one more prestigous than another, or does the other require more training? Thank you.

Doctor Answers 3


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The designation ABPS stands for the American Board of Plastic Surgery. It requires at least 3 years of surgery training before 3 years of plastic surgery traing and often those who are ABPS certifed have even more training than that such as being American Board of Surgery certifed.

The ABFPRS certification is obtained by ENT physicians, not plastic surgeons, who have done a fellowship is facial cosmetic surgery.

You will have to decide which flavor makes you more comfortable as there are good doctors in both camps.


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There is a substantial difference between the two organizations.  General Plastic Surgeons (as defined by the ABPS) are NOT specialists in the face.  They have completed a 5 year residency in General Surgery and then have gone on to complete a fellowship in General Plastic Surgery, whereby 80% of their training is in body and breast surgery and the remaining 20% is in the Face. 
This group of surgeons did most of the facial plastic surgery for years until the ABFPRS (American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery) board was established, when if you look at the percentage of Facial cases that are done today comparatively speaking: Facial Plastic Surgeons perform the vast majority of them (almost 5:1).
The ABFPRS was developed to train already very highly trained surgeons in Head and Neck Surgery (5 years of just facial, head, and neck surgery) in even more specialized techniques in the face, head, and neck.
When an average Facial Plastics fellow graduates his 6th year of specialized training, they have performed thousands of surgeries in just the Face, Head, and Neck.
The question you should ask yourself is "Do you want someone performing surgery on your face who does facial surgery part-time or one who does it full-time?"  I have been in practice for 11 years and have performed over 11,000 procedures in the Face. 
The ABMS is a political group that is run by General Surgeons and as such, they have "chosen" to not include the ABFPRS as one of their select boards. 
Keep in mind that the vast majority of patients whom seek work in the face, choose a  double board certified Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon.
Again, ask your surgeon if all they do is faces, or do they also do Body work.  This will tell you all about their level of expertise.
I hope this helps.

Roberto E. Garcia, MD, FACS
Jacksonville Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews


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ABPS is an ABMS recognized board whereas ABFPRS is not. ABPS requires graduation from a certified plastic surgery residency whereas ABFPRS can be bestowed on individuals completing a residency in otolaryngology or plastic surgery. 

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

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