Dr. Kirby's Blog

ABPS Board Certified: Why it’s Important, What it Means, and How it Benefits You

Did you know that licensed physicians can legally call themselves “cosmetic” or “plastic” surgeons and can perform cosmetic procedures regardless of their actual area of medical training? This is why it is important to pay attention to the words “board certified” in the credentials of a plastic surgeon.

“Board certified” means that a doctor’s training goes beyond the minimum required for licensure and indicates that he or she has met the requirements of one or more of the 24 boards recognized by American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).  The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) is the official certifying body for plastic surgeons; it is one of the boards recognized by ABMS.

The certification process for plastic surgeons is thorough and stringent. It shows you that a surgeon has been thoroughly trained in plastic and reconstructive surgery. It is a voluntary process that demonstrates a physician’s commitment to the highest level of care for her patients. The process of becoming board certified takes several years after medical training is complete.

A brief overview of the certification process:

To become a board certified plastic surgeon, the following is required:

  • Completion of an approved program from an accredited medical school

  • Completion of an additional 5 years of specialized surgical training, including a minimum of 2 years of study focusing solely on plastic surgery

  • Completion of 2 years in practice as a plastic surgeon

  • Passage of a set of rigorous examinations, both written and oral

  • Demonstrated performance as a plastic surgeon

This level of education and training goes well beyond the minimum necessary for earning a license to practice as a doctor, and translates into years of hands-on, real-world training. Continuing education is also required, which means that a board certified plastic surgeon pursues a lifetime of study in the field.

Why choose a board certified plastic surgeon?

Because training matters. All things being equal, surgeons who train rigorously get good results – and an ABPS board certified plastic surgeon has trained for years before you enter their office as a patient.

I am board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). Anyone considering plastic surgery should ask their doctor if they are board certified and by which medical board. Then make sure the board is recognized by ABMS.

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