Was Does It Mean when Board Certification Has Expired?

I have been to 3 consults for tummy tuck to try and find right surgeon and staff for me. I researched the 3 drs to check for board certs. I found that 1 dr's board cert and ambulatory cert expired 5 years ago. The MD lic. is active. I put down money for a surgery date because I really like the dr and staff. I can't find any info on why his certs have lapsed. Should I stay away? Is ok for me to call the practice and ask? I am upset and now will be at a lost for the deposit I put down. Plz help

Doctor Answers 4

Board certification in plastic surgery

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Board certification in palstic surgery is important.  The older surgeons about 50 and older were "grandfathered" in so that they nevefr have to take recertification exams.  The younger group has to recertify every 10 years. 

New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Expired board certification and operating room certification

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There are really 2 concerns here one being board certification of the surgeon and the other being certification of the surgery center. It is one thing if the doctor was board certified and then it lapse, another if he/she never took or passed the certifcation, still another if the surgeon took it and recertified and lastly if the surgeon is older and has the certificate that does not expire (is good for life). In the last case the doctor may not have the maintenance of certifcation but retains the initial board certification. Sounds complicated doesn't it.

The facility certification is more worrisome though. Your first priority needs to be safety and the second results. Letting your operating room certifcation lapse while you continue to operate in it for 5 years raises a large red flag. That would be illegal in California.

Your being uncomfortable with this and hesitant to go forward or have a conversation with the surgeon are another red flag. If you cannot discuss this with your doctor how can feel free to call the doctor after surgery if some complication arises and you need help. You need to call the doctor and personally meet with him/her rather than call the practice and speak with staff. At that meeting voice all your concerns and make sure there is no misunderstanding. If there is some misinformation and the surgeon really is board certified using a certified operating room you will feel even more comfortable that you made the right choice. If that meeting does not alleviate your concerns get whatever deposit you can back and move on.

Aaron Stone, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon

Board Certification in Plastic Surgery!

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This is a decision only you can make.  My opinion is that (and I am current on my certifications, and re-certifications) the certification is a statement that the doctor strives to maintain the highest standards and education, in order to provide the best, most up to date, care for the patient.

You sure may ask about why, but does it really matter when so many qualified certified and current plastic surgeons are around?

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Lapsed Board Certification

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This is an unusual situation for sure and raises some potential red flags.  I would contact the doctor directly and ask what is up.  If they truly have lost certification and you ask for a refund, I would be surprised if they didn't give it all back because in a way they may have misrepresented themselves.  

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.