Why Wouldn't a Surgeon Get Board-certified in Plastic Surgery?

I was researching the docs from E's Dr. 90210, and the lead guy Dr. Roberto Rey does not seem to be board-certified. I read his entire resume and he has an impressive history (aesthetic and breast recon fellowship, plastic and reconstructive residency). In your best guess, why would someone with these credentials not get board-certified?

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Doctor Answers 8

Who wouldn't get Board Certified in Plastic Surgery if they could?

Being a former Examiner for the American Board of Plastic Surgery, examining candidates for several years who wanted to become Board Certified, I can tell you that I can't imagine any reason why somebody who had performed the years of necessary training and education would not try to complete their Board Certification which is the gold standard in plastic surgery qualifications.  However, please understand that it is no easy task to pass the boards though, requiring the blessing of the program director who trained you, the passing of an extensive written examination, and culminating in a rigorous oral exam on your own work plus challenging cases presented to the candidate by the Board examiners.  Even one's ethics and billing practices are put under scrutiny.

So, when a person has all the training to be Board Certified but isn't you have to wonder a bit about them.   I would estimate that it is usually because they have failed to pass the exams either at the written stage, the oral exam stage, or even possibly the Board doesn't feel they are ethical enough to be blessed as Board Certified. 

The fundamental job of the Board is to determine that those who are Certified are safe and ethical plastic surgeons whom you can trust with your care.  Their talent as surgeons and whether they are the right one for you is still up to your discretion and research as these are not the job of the Board.

Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

Why Wouldn't a Surgeon Get 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.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,488 reviews

Board Certification in Plastic Surgery is a tough process

There are many surgeons who claim to be Plastic Surgeons.  But only a few have gone through the process to call themselves Board Certified in Plastic Surgery.  This is because it requires 6-8 years of rigorous surgical training after finishing Medical School, and 1-2 years of ethical practice after that training and a very tough 2 part exam to become a TRULY CERTIFIED BY THE BOARD OF PLASTIC SURGERY.

It is not for everyone.  Many, even after all those years of hard work would flunk the exam and not be Board Certified.

However there is no law to safeguard public from false claims by any doctor who chooses to self designate himself as a Plastic Surgeon.  Such self designations are bolstered by misrepresentations in ads, claims and media manuplation. 

Vasdev Rai, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

The process is long and demanding

The process for the board certification involves

1) 5 years of surgical training

2) 2-3 years of plastic surgery training

3) passing written exam

4) collection of the cases for six months

5) oral exam and examination of the collected cases

6) Continuous medical education

As you see it take effort,dedication and time to become board certified and stay certified


Kamran Khoobehi, MD
New Orleans Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 122 reviews

Board Certification In Plastic Surgery

It is extremely important to have a board-certified plastic surgeon perform your surgery.  Although I suppose there are some surgeons who do not obtain their board certification because they do not feel the need, the most common reason is probably inability to pass the tests involved (there are both written and oral exams which must be passed) or not having recognized (by the ABPS board) training and credentials.  You must also be cautious about other "boards"  The ABPS is the only board for plastic or aesthetic surgery which is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties.

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

Board certification

In the past most surgeons considered board certification to be a validation of the years of training spent to learn their craft.  It was a way to take pride in one's training and be accepted among peers of similar accomplishment. Certification Boards themselves defined it as recognizing that a physician had completed an accredited training program and passed an examination of their knowledge of the field. It was a way to let other physicians and patients know that you had credentials that met a high standard.

Nowadays I have been told that I am out of line if I ask a patient not to bring their dog into the exam room or a person to not loudly conduct business on their cellphone in my waiting room. So I'd be the last one to guess why someone who did all the training would not want to be certified.

Michael L. Schwartz, MD
West Palm Beach Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Why not board certification

Good question.  If a surgeon has gone through a qualified Plastic Surgery Training program, he or she should have the knowledge and training to pass the certification exams(written and oral).  They are not easy but are not impossible.   Accredited hospitals and surgery centers in most areas of the country require Board Certification for priveleges in Plastic Surgery.  Donald R. Nunn MD  Atlanta Plastic Surgeon.

Donald Nunn, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Board certification in Plastic surgery and other specialities

There is absolutely no reason not to get board certification after completing accreted training program. Most of the hospitals require board certification to be on the staff. As cosmetic surgery can be performed in an office setting with office based surgery centers, one could be in business without the need for boars certification and hospital privileges but imagine a complication that requires hospitalization and your surgeon can't take care of you in a hospital..

Raj Chowdary, MD (retired)
Allentown Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 5 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.