American Society of Plastic Surgeons

The doctor I am seeing for my surg is member of American Board of Plastic Surg is that the same thing?

Doctor Answers 7


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The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) is the certifying agency. If verifies adequate training, and provides written and oral examination which the applicant must pass to become "Board Cerfified."

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons(ASPS) is the major plastic surgery organization in the US. To qualify the applicant must be certified by the ABPS. There are addition standards that must be met for a surgeon to remain in good standing in this organization. 

Most plastic surgeons who have been certified by the ABPS become and remain members of ASPS. Some allow their membership to lapse, and small number  are not accepted or are asked to resign. 

Membership in the ASPS provides assurance that your surgeon is in good standing with this major organization. Thanks for your question, best wishes. 

Seattle Plastic Surgeon

American Board of Plastic Surgery

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American society of plastic surgeons and American board of plastic surgery are not the same thing.  If your surgeon is a member of either you can be sure they are well trained and have the ability to safely perform your tummy tuck.

ASPS vs. American Board of Plastic Surgery

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Those are two different institutions. The American Board of Plastic Surgery is an organization that verifies your plastic surgeon credentials and adequate training, also the only plastic surgery board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons, which is the largest Plastic Surgical Society in the World, is a voluntary group.


Asps is our main society

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as a plastic surgeon, the board that certifies us is the american board of plastic surgery.  once you are board certified you may join the main society, which is the asps.  there are other organizations, such as the american society of aesthetic plastic surgery (ASAPS) which signify a higher level of interest/experience in aesthetic surgery.  the "cosmetic surgery" board and society are not true boards governed by the american board of medical specialties.

Eric Chang, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

The American Board of plastic surgery and the American Society of plastic surgeons are not the same thing

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The American Board of plastic surgery is an agency that reviews the training indent tests plastic surgeons for their professional capability. The American Society of plastic surgeons is a voluntary organization of board eligible or board-certified plastic surgeons. There is no test required to join this organization.


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   The main difference between the two is that ASPS charges a fee to become a member.  ABPS indicates board certification. 


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 No, they are not the same thing. The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) is the only Agency under the American Board of Medical Specialist (ABMS) allowed to certify Plastic Surgeons as Board Certified. To become a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS) a surgeon normally is Board Certified by the ABPS.
 Members of the ASPS are required to fallow very specific Ethical Guideline and principles of practice, billing , advertising, etc so as, to not to deceive/ misrepresent the public. The ASPS spends millions of dollars yearly contributed by its members as a politically pro-active organization, a clinical research organization with a focus on patient safety(Plastic Surgery Foundation- PSF), educational organizer, etc. It is not cheep to belong to by any means.
 Surgeons that are Board Certified under the ABPS, are ASPS members and focus primarily on Cosmetic Surgery are eligible to join the American Society of Aesthetic Surgery (ASAPS). Again, there are very specific criteria for membership, expenses, required meetings/ educational requirements (Continuing Medical Education-CME) and the ethical guidelines of the ASPS apply to all ASAPS members.
 These are not simply clubs but organizations that spend tens of millions of dollars a year to make sure their member are well trained, educated and practice/ perform plastic surgery with a primary concern for patient safety, honesty and verifiable integrity. Best,




Gary R Culbertson, MD, FACS
ASPS Ethics Committee Chairman (2012)

Gary R. Culbertson, MD
Columbia Plastic Surgeon

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.