Importance of Choosing a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon
After you have decided to undergo cosmetic surgery, choosing the right surgeon becomes one of the most challenging decisions you still face, no matter what the procedure. Naturally, you want to find the most skilled and experienced surgeon possible, one with a solid reputation and a stellar record of producing beautiful results. You’re not just looking for a doctor who performs one-size-fit-all surgeries, but one with a passion for aesthetics who custom-tailors each operation according to the unique features of the specific patient. And you want to feel comfortable with your chosen surgeon, and to have complete trust that they will have your best interests in mind.
Experience should be one of the first factors you investigate as part of a comprehensive evaluation to narrow down your list of prospective plastic surgeons. While plastic surgery is a specialized branch of medicine, some doctors practice cosmetic surgery despite having little to no specialized training in the art. Thus, check the medical credentials of any plastic surgeon on your prospect list to ensure that they have the right training and experience. As medical credentials can sometimes be confusing, board certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) is one of the most pertinent credentials for proving the surgeon’s competence, experience, and skill in the art of cosmetic surgery.
ABPS Board Certification Rigorous Vetting System
ABPS board certification is a long and challenging process that a surgeon can only undertake when they become “board eligible.” This means that the physician has graduated from medical school, completed specialist training, finished their residency and begun practicing. Once board eligible, the physician must prepare for and pass a two-part rigorous exam process. A 350-question written exam must be passed before the doctor can proceed to a two-day oral exam. During this exam, the candidate is evaluated on the breadth of plastic and reconstructive surgery, and additionally must showcase five to seven of their own surgical cases to a panel of senior plastic surgeons. These experts in the field evaluate every detail of the cases presented. They vigorously question the candidate about decisions made in relation to the operation and every action taken during the surgical process. Another portion of the oral exam requires the candidate to detail how they would undertake a series of challenging cases and/or address surgical complications that might arise during a procedure.
The exam failure rate is believed to range from about 15% to 25% per year. And while passing the exams and receiving board certification is certainly a great accomplishment for those who undergo it, the process is not over, as certification needs to be maintained. Maintenance of certification includes continuous development and education, as well as maintaining a high degree of professionalism.
Another Key Credential to Look For
Along with ABPS board certification, active membership in the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) serves as another credential indicative of your potential cosmetic surgeon’s expertise, experience, and professionalism. In fact, board certification is a key requirement for ASPS membership. Other membership requirements include:
- Graduation from an accredited medical school
- Minimum six years of surgical training post-medical school, and minimum three years of plastic surgery residency training.
- Successfully pass comprehensive oral and written exams.
- Perform surgery in accredited, state-licensed or Medicaid-certified surgical facilities.
- Complete continuing medical education and patient safety courses each year.
- Adhere to strict ASPS Code of Ethics.
Learn More Through a Consultation at Naples Plastic Surgery
If you would like to find a board-certified cosmetic surgeon in the Naples, Florida area, consider Drs. Paul Gardner and Dr. Leo Baccaro at Naples Plastic Surgery. These Board Certified Plastic Surgeons hold numerous other medical certifications and awards, as well as a stellar reputation for helping their Naples-area reach their aesthetic goals. Contact Naples Plastic Surgery today at 239.566.2611 to schedule your initial consultation.