Could You Tell Me if a Doctor Who is a Board Certified Surgeon the Same Thing As Being Board Certified in Plastic Surgery?

I found a Dr who I like, but when I look him up he is not certified in Plastic Surgery only surgery. Is that the same thing?

Doctor Answers 6

What is the American Board of Plastic Surgery?

The American Board of Plastic Surgery is the only sub-specialties board for cosmetic plastic surgery recongnized by the American Medical Association. Since its recongnition in 1941, this organization has regulated and certified surgeons for plastic and reconstructive surgery. Many physicians practicing plastic surgery are qualified and skilled surgeons; however, selecting a doctor who has been certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery ensures that your surgeon has undergone extensive specialezed training and successfully passed rigorous examinations.

It is required that every surgeon complete a minimum of six years of general surgery training and at least three years of specialized training in cosmetic plastic & reconstructive surgery. Once a surgeon has completed their training, he or she is then able to take a written exam followed by an intense analysis of his or her work administered by the member of the board. Analysis includes skill level, talen and ethics. Only after a doctor has been approved by the board can a surgeon call him or herself a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.

What this means for the patient is by selecting a surgeon who is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, you know that you are in the hands of a surgeon who has completed extensive specialized training and has been approved by the top doctors in the country for his or her perfomance and ethics.


Portland Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Board Certified Surgeon is not a Plastic Surgeon

Many of us are double Board Certified in Surgery and in Plastic Surgery.  But being certified in Surgery is NOT being a plastic surgeon.  This could be a younger doctor who has not yet passed his/her plastic surgery exams but is already a BC Surgeon.  Or it could be just a regular general surgeon (those who take out your appendix) who has decided to market themselves as a plastic surgeon for increased income hoping you won't notice the difference.  There are many out there doing that and it is a buyer beware market!!!

Board Certification in what?

No it is not the same thing. If you want a surgeon with the most experince in Plastic Surgery you have to choose a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.

Dr Foster

Lawrence Foster, MD (retired)
Sacramento Plastic Surgeon
3.3 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

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Could You Tell Me if a Doctor Who is a Board Certified Surgeon the Same Thing As Being Board Certified in Plastic Surgery?

Thank you for the important question. Unfortunately, differentiating the credentials of the variety of  physicians who wish to provide "cosmetic surgery" services, can be very confusing to patients. Also unfortunately, there is no strict regulation set up to protect the consumer by state or national medical regulatory organizations. Therefore, patients must take the responsibility to ask the question: what are you board-certified in?



 The American Board of Plastic Surgery is the only board recognized by the American Board of medical specialties. Confirming that your surgeon is certified by the American Board of plastic surgeon is very important; this will assure you that your surgeon's undergone rigorous training, testing, and continued medical education necessary to become and remain board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. 



Plastic surgeons who are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery are then potential candidates to join the American Society of Plastic Surgery and/or the Aesthetic Society of Plastic Surgery. These societies will have lists of their plastic surgeon members; these lists may be helpful when patients are seeking a board-certified plastic surgeon. in the process of selecting a plastic surgery I also encourage patients to ask to SEE lots of examples of their work AND preferably speak/see patients who have had similar procedures done.



Be very careful with your decision-making. You will find, while doing your due diligence, that there are many different “specialties” who will offer their services to you; again, I strongly recommend you concentrate on surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.  Be very careful with your decision-making. You will find, while doing your due diligence, that there are many different “specialties” who will offer their services to you; again, I strongly recommend you concentrate on surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.



Again, I cannot overemphasize the importance of careful selection of plastic surgeon when it comes to concerns such as safety, achievement of the desired outcome, and ability to manage complications that may arise (even in the best of hands).  Keep in mind that revisionary surgery may be more costly in many ways. 


 I hope this, and the attached link, helps. Best wishes.

Board certification

Board certification in surgery is not the same as board certification in plastic surgery.  If he is not listed as such than he is not board certified in plastic surgery.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Board certified surgeon vs. Board certified plastic surgeon

A board certified surgeon does not mean that the doctor is board certified plastic surgeon. Their is a specialty certification in plastic surgery by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. It should state Board certified in plastic surgery.

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.