What Exactly is the ABFPRS?

I am wondering what exactly is the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and what the requirements are to be certified by this board?

Should it raise a red flag if a doctor went to a first-rate undergrad and medical school, but only has certification from this Board?

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To see the criteria RealSelf uses to list a doctor as a Facial Plastic Surgeon, please visit our Professional Policies.  Doctors listed as a 'Facial Plastic Surgeon' on RealSelf are eligible to discuss treatments and procedures for any "neck-up" procedures, including those of the face, ear, nose and throat areas.  As always, consumers should do their due-diligence in researching an individual doctors experience and credentials when choosing their surgeon.


Doctor Answers 9

The American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

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Contrary to the needlessly inflammatory and incorrect remark made by Dr. Kasden, the ABFPRS is a well recognized board that certifies Facial Plastic Surgeons.  Its reasons for not being included in the ABMS are politically related, not quality related.  For an overview of a history of "turf battles", I would recommend you visit the ABFPRS website (In my experience, Surgeons are generally more interested in turf battles than patients). 

Because of the high quality of training and the rigorous nature of the certification process,   the ABFPRS is considered ABMS-equivalent in each of the 50 states.  In other words, every state Medical board recognizes the ABFPRS.  ABFPRS certification requires residency training in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery or Plastic Surgery, a written and oral examination, and at least 2 years in practice with a supportive case log to obtain certification.  The reason for the success of the preponderance of ABFPRS diplomates  is that they specialize only in Facial Plastic Surgery and they do great work.  You can generally rely on certification by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery or American Board of Plastic Surgery as a good start when considering Facial Plastic Surgery. 

AAFPRS and the ABFPRS are two separate organizations

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Greetings Doberman,

You raise two separate questions and some clarification is in order.


The American Academy of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery is an organization of physicians who perform facial plastic surgery. The orgranization is dedicated to education, humanitarian projects, and certain political advocacy. There is no certification process though there are some membership requirements. For more information visit http://www.aafprs.org


The American Board of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery is a certifying authority which certifies plastic surgeons or head & neck surgeons who have undergone further training and specialize in facial plastic surgery. The certification process involves a two day oral and written examination followed by a review of two years worth of case logs. Those surgeons certified by the ABFPRS must also be certified by either the American Board of Plastic Surgery or the American Board of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery. Therefore it is impossible to be only certified by the ABFPRS. While not an ABMS board, the ABFPRS requires the same level of education and testing as any ABMS board and requires recertification for physicians every 10 years (though some surgeons are currently grandfathered since the requirement is fairly recent). For more information, visit the ABFPRS at http://www.abfprs.org.

Hope this helps.

D.J. Verret, MD
Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon
3.9 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

AAFPRS and board certification

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The AAFPRS stands for the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. It is an organization that most facial plastic surgeons in the United States belong to. The board certification for facial plastic surgeons is administered by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. It is a very difficult examination. To become eligible to become board certified in facial plastic surgery, the surgeon must be board-certified in ear, nose, and throat surgery or in general plastic surgery. The website for the American Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery is www.AAFPRS.org for more information.

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The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS)

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Hi Doberman,

The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) is the world's largest specialty association that represents over 2,700 facial plastic and reconstructive surgeons throughout the world. The AAFPRS is a National Medical Specialty Society of the American Medical Association (AMA), and holds an official seat in both the AMA House of Delegates and the American College of Surgeons board of governors. AAFPRS members are board certified surgeons whose focus is surgery of the face, head, and neck. AAFPRS members subscribe to a code of ethics.

There should be no red flags if your facial plastic surgeon is certified by this board.

To learn more about AAFPRS go to the web reference below.

Good luck and be well.

Dr. P

Michael A. Persky, MD
Encino Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Fact vs opinion

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The fact is that the ABFPRS has long been given equivalency to the ABPS by all 50 states.  There is a USA  TODAY article that I posted its link below for you.  You can read it.  

The rest is politics and you don't need to worry about politics.  For example Spine Surgeons can come from an Orthopedic surgery back ground or Neurosurgery back ground.  But for some reason the orthopedic spine surgeons dont try to put down the neurosurgeon spine surgeons the way a few general plastic surgeons continue to show they nastiness and ignorance by their remarks about our specialty of FACIAL PLASTIC SURGERY.  

Just remember one thing: The esteemed plastic surgeon who destroyed Michael Jackson's nose and face was a BOARD CERTIFIED PLASTIC SURGEON just like Dr. Rand and Kasden!  He was even "better" than them because he was the president of the Greater Los Angeles PLASTIC SURGERY society! He was not a Facial Plastic Surgeon! Facial Plastic Surgeons who are certified by the ABFPRS understand the face.  They have no business doing anything on the body (unfortunately a few bad apples do body work) but the vast majority stick to their expertise which is face plastic surgery.  

At the end of the day you have to ask yourself "Do I want a jack of all trades and a master of none? or do I want a specialist!?" 

with that said I will go back and say that within each specialty there are amazing surgeons and very lousy surgeons.  Do not get bogged down by brands.  Do your research and choose the best surgeon, be it facial plastics or plastics.  I have plenty of great colleagues in each specialty that I refer patients to and I have ones in both specialties whose work I have to constantly revise and correct.

Be smart! 

American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery board certification is rigorous

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Certification by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ABFPRS) involves a rigorous process nicely described by Dr. Verret and Dr. Prendiville.  The ABFPRS is recognized as equivalent to all other ABMS boards in all 50 states.  The ABFPRS requires board certification by either the American Board of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery OR the American Board of Plastic Surgery (both of which are ABMS specialty boards) as a PREREQUISITE to achieving ABFPRS certification.

Instead of a red flag, you should consider ABFPRS certification as a GREEN flag.  Ultimately, results are what matter, so board certification should just be one part of your decision making process.  Talk to past patients and look at before and after photos that accurately represent your surgeon's work.

Anurag Agarwal, MD
Naples Facial Plastic Surgeon

You can go to the AAFPRS site to read about the board.

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 This group of plastic surgeons specialize in the face. There is economic competition between this group and the plastic surgeons who operate all over the body. Both groups have excellent surgeons and poor surgeons. The results each surgeon obtains is what is important. Certification by either group is a minimum standard and not a guarantee of an excellent result.

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews


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The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons is not a board certification per se. It is a group of board certified doctors that specialize in facial surgery. Most come from an ENT training background but not all do. I personally come from a plastic surgery training background. No red flags here.

My personal opinion is that AAFPRS is a sham

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My opinion is also that people who say they are "board certified in cosmetic surgery" are also claiming a sham certification. I only consider specialty boards recognized by "The American Board of Medical Specialties" as legitimate. You may visit the web site (link below). If it "ain't" one of the 24 recognized medical specialties, keep on walking.

Again my personal opinion is that people who make these claims are puffing their own credentials, and not being candid with the public. My honest opinion, and I await the flames.

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.