What's the Difference Between Plastic Surgery Organizations?

What is the difference between the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery? Of the 3 consultations I have scheduled, only one surgeon has both and the other two have one or the other.

Doctor Answers 2

ASAPS members are also ASPS members, but not all ASPS belong to ASAPS.

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Great question! The good news is that you are asking it at the right time, before your surgery, and you are consulting with board-certified plastic surgeons.

The American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons is a select group of board-certified plastic surgeons who are members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons AND who specialize in aesthetic surgery.

Before being accepted into ASAPS membership, an ASPS member plastic surgeon must:

  • Document the performance of a significant number of cosmetic surgical cases
  • Have the recommendations of other ASAPS plastic surgeons familiar with his or her professional reputation.
  • Be invited to join. Membership in ASAPS is by invitation only and is an exclusive privilege for a select group of plastic surgeons nationwide.

All members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, ASPS, are certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties, an organization that oversees all medical specialty boards. It has certified that each ASPS member is uniquely qualified to perform plastic surgery of the face and all areas of the body. In addition ASAPS and ASPS members must regularly attend continuing medical education courses and adhere to a strict code of ethics.

All have met the rigid requirements of 4 years medical school, and at least 6 to 9 years of surgical training with the final years dedicated exclusively to plastic surgery.

Remember! It is not against the law for a doctor with 4 years of medical school, and no surgical training, to set up an office and perform plastic surgery. And it is not against the law for a physician certified in another specialty such as family practice, or dermatology to begin performing plastic surgery. With the demand for plastic surgery increasing and insurance payments to physicians decreasing, it is likely we will see more, not less of this.

It is not enough anymore to just ask a doctor if they are "board-certified". Most doctors are board certified in some medical specialty. What you need is a doctor board-certified in plastic surgery. And both of these organizations are.

Knoxville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 111 reviews

Good question: ASPS vs ASAPS

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Good question. These are not mutually exclusive.

ASPS as you know stands for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and used to be called the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons but they chose to simplify the name. It was founded in 1931, and its members are board-certified plastic surgeons who perform cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. About 95% or more of board certified plastic surgeons belong to the society.There are roughly 6000 board certified plastic surgeons in the US, so about 5,500 belong to this society.

ASAPS stands for the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and it is composed of Board certified plastic surgeons that specialize in cosmetic surgery and have met additional requirements for continuing education in aesthetic surgery. They have 2.400 members. There are membership requirements that need to be met in addition to ASPS.

I hope this helps!

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.