Is It Bad if the Doctor is Not Board Certified with the ABPS?

I am looking for a doctor and found 1 who has performed thousands of the treatments that I am looking at (laser tightening, resurfacing, and Juvederm), history is impressive. However he's DO who is not certified with the ABPS. Is this bad? He is certified with ABIM and Am Soc of Lasers in Med and Surg

Doctor Answers 7

Depends on Procedure

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   While I do agree with the gist of what Dr. Aldea has to say regarding board certification, I would like to point out that the ABIM ( American Board of Internal Medicine) is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialists. In fact one of four American practicing physicians is certified by the ABIM and the ABIM was one of the founding members of the ABMS.

   In the past decade or two there have been unfortunate efforts on the part of groups of physicians to create pseudo-boards. This has generated confusion among the general public. You should be sure that your physician is a member of one of the boards recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialists. 

   I do find it sad that some physicians are finding their specialty ( in this physician's case: internal medicine) so difficult and unrewarding that they deem it worth their while  to practice another specialty via a back door cut. It is pretty much guaranteed, with all the adverse events taking place in medicine, that we shall be seeing more and more of these medical refugees. 

   One further note: your decision should be based on the procedure you are entertaining. I would certainly stay away from any sort of plastic surgery procedure ( unfortunately more and more physicians are practicing these out of their realm), but you are probably safe with Juvederm , laser or BOTOX if this physician is experienced in these procedures. 

Virginia Beach Dermatologist

Core doctors

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Aesthetic procedures should be done by board certified or eligible doctors in the core fields...period.  These doctors are especially trained for aesthetic procedures. Certainly for lasers, and fillers there is an overlap in these 4 fields: Plastic surgery, facial plastic surgery, oculoplastic surgery, and dermatology.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Look for Core Specialties

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There are four core specialties who are qualified and trained to perform cosmetic  fillers, Botox, and resurfacing: Facial Plastic Surgery (ABFPRS),  Plastic Surgery (ABPS), Dermatology (ABD), and Occuloplastic Surgery (ASOPRS).  If you are looking for a Physician with these credentials, you are in the right place. If these credentials are missing, keep looking.  For other procedures, here is a basic synopsis of specialists you should see.  You will generally not sacrifice quality based on the specialty with theses recommendations. However, individual Surgeons will vary in quality.  Seek word of mouth and inquire about results and reputation.

Rhinoplasty, Facelift: Facial Plastic Surgery or Plastic Surgery.

Eyelid Surgery: Facial Plastic Surgery, Occuloplastic Surgery, or Plastic Surgery.

Tummy Tuck or Breast Augmentation: Plastic Surgery only.

Stephen Prendiville, MD
Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 103 reviews

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Not board certified with the ABPS

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Total agreement with Drs Aldea, Placik, and Rand. To me it is a "what if" question. What if you had these treatments, therapies, operations and had a complication. Does the treating doctor have the training, experience to handle, correct the issue. Unless boarded in the specialty of the treatment than how can the doctor feel their experience and training has allowed them to learn what to do if you have a problem. Weekend courses, self teaching are good if learning a new language. But this is doing something upon a patient. 

We as doctors should follow the ideal of the Hippocratic oath- "do no harm". It is not about the money but about providing excellent patient care.

From Miami Dr. B

To choose a plastic surgeon or not??

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Please read Dr. Aldea's comments several times because he has hit the nail on the head.  There are many non-plastic surgeons out there who will try to capture your business especially in the non-surgical realm.  Even in the surgical realm too, amazingly enough!

You need to decide what you want - a plastic surgeon or not?  All these other qualifications and certifications try to look like plastic surgery and try to convince you that they are equal to plastic surgeons, but they are not in my opinion.  I didn't spend nearly 9 years after medical school training in surgery and plastic surgery to have an internist say they were my equal in plastic surgery.   But you need to decide, just be aware of the differences please.

Meaning of Certification by The American Board of Plastic Surgery

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The QUALITY of Medical Specialty Training in the United States is governed and controlled by The American Board of Medical Specialists ( Its member boards in turn regulate and control the quality of training in ALL fields of medical specialties. "ABIM and Am Soc of Lasers in Med and Surg" are NOT part of the ABMS,  THE ONLY ABMS board which certifies surgeons in the practice of Plastic Surgery of The Face and Body is its member board - The American Board of Plastic Surgery. EVERY member of The American Society of Plastic Surgeons ( IS certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

If you think that "all doctors are the same", and "all boards are the same" - by all means go ahead and see a non-Plastic surgeon for a Plastic surgery procedure.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

ABPS and the Plastic Surgery "Seal of Approval"

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ABPS is a medical specialty board dedicated to assuring and verifying the education and training of Plastic Surgeons. It does not qualify other specialties and therefore no comment or adequate response to your question is truly possible.

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