Physician Not Yet Board Certified. Is That Acceptable?

Thank you so much! I do have another question- my physician graduated in 2005 and completed his residency in 2011. He is not set to take his boards until November but has been practicing here for 2 years. I hear everyone saying that the Dr needs to be board certified but if they haven't been able to take their boards yet, is that okay?

***Updated Information***

I posted this before I met him or spoke with his office. It was the best decision I could have made going with him. He was honestly the best Doctor I have ever had. I wish there was some way he could be my PCP. My experience using him was amazing. He is such a humble physician and made my whole family feel involved with the process of my tummy tuck and lipo. He was always willing to answer any questions I had at anytime, day or night. Please don't let a physician not yet being board certified because he hasn't been in practice longer enough to influence your decision. We all have to start somewhere. Thank you

Doctor Answers 10

Board certification

Every surgeon had a few years in practice when they were board eligible, but not yet certified.  if you have a good relationship with the doctor and trust him or her, you should be fine.  Hey, at least the doctor is being honest with you, and honesty in a plastic surgeon is a very important quality.

San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Board Certification

Thanks for your inquiry.  All board certified plastic surgeons begin as board eligible.  The process does take time and serves an important purpose.  Once we obtain certification we must continue a scheduled maintanence program.  Most important is for you to trust your surgeon and his/her work.  Good luck.

Vishnu Rumalla, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 201 reviews

Board Certification

Your surgeon may or may not be on track for certification by the ABPS.  It is important that the certification be in plastic surgery.  In many states (including mine) a physician may be BC in pediatrics, family practice, etc. and advertise as being board certified.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Not yet certified

The doctor may have had a reason not to have been certified yet.  It usually takes 3 years after graduation.

Anyway, a second opinion is always good.  I practice in Southlake TX, if you are interested.


Scott E. Kasden, MD, FACS
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 106 reviews

Physician Not Yet Board Certified. Is That Acceptable

The doctor sounds like he is on track to get his board certification in a timely manner, so that is good. The answer to your question, in my mind, would have to be qualified based on what surgery you expect him to perform. If it is a very complex operation, then he probably has little experience yet. If it is a relatively straight forward procedure and you have friends who have been to see him for similar procedures and are happy with results, then you should be OK.

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Not Yet Board Certified Surgeon


All surgeons have to get started somehow. Once finishing their residencies, they are required to complete a specified number of cases of different types to present to the board examiners, as well as pass a written test, in order to become certified. For you, the consumer, that means you have to be more vigilant since the surgeon has not yet been fully reviewed. However, if they are set to take the boards, they have passed the preliminary hurdles and are approved by their training program as being competent. If the test your surgeon is to take in November is the oral part of the certification exam in plastic surgery (the written is in October), then he has also passed the written portion. Simply ask specifics about the exam and for experience and then trust your gut. You may be talking to someone who will be a superstar in the future (or maybe not).


Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

How important is board certification

Every physician needs to start practice somewhere. We all were new graduates when we started doing operations. I would have an open discussion with this new surgeon and ask how many abdominoplasties they did during residency and since then. Try to get a sense of their sense of confidence and see if they are willing to answer your questions in a satisfactory manner. Also, even young physician will have a photo file of cases that they did during residency. Ask to see those photos.

Diana L. Elias MD


Diana L. Elias, MD
Saint Petersburg Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Is Board Certification Important

As others have stated, the process of board certification does take time. You must demonstrate that you have the necessary training and experience before you are even eligible to become board certified. The link below explains the process in more detail, as well as why it is important.

Robert N. Young, MD, FACS
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 70 reviews

Board Certification

Thank you for your quesiton. It is a good one.  Board Certification is a process and takes some time to complete.  If your surgeon is a recent graduate scheduled to take his boards and you are confident in his skilss and care, then it is reasonable.  Someone who is not a recent graduate and not board certified would be more of a concern.  All the best.

Robert F. Centeno, MD, FACS
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Physician Not Yet Board Certified. Is That Acceptable?

    If the physician completed his residency in a plastic surgery training program and he or she displays the competence and attention to detail you desire, then this is OK.   Every plastic surgeon has a period of time to wait to take boards no matter how brilliant or how gifted, and there is no way to speed this up.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 496 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.