What Does it Mean to be a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon?
When consumers want to have plastic surgery, which is commonly referred to as cosmetic surgery, there are tens of thousands of physicians in the US from which they can choose. However, while all states require licensure, about half of them do not require board certification.
What Is Board Certification?
Board certification is much different from the licensure that is required to practice any form of medicine in the United States. In fact, certification in a specialty is completely voluntary and physicians are able to practice general medicine and perform surgeries in their offices without it. A physician with a medical license has demonstrated the minimum competency necessary to practice. On the other hand, a surgeon who has board certification has proven his or her expertise in the area of cosmetic surgery. This certification requires rigorous testing and evaluation to prove an individual’s competency.
What’s the Difference?
As far as patient safety is concerned, there are several issues that should be considered. First and foremost, the laws that dictate what physicians can and cannot do were written almost a century ago – long before cosmetic surgeries were considered routine. They have not changed much since then, and any licensed physician has the ability under the law to perform these procedures in his or her office. What’s more, since most cosmetic surgeries are not billed through insurance companies and are instead paid for out-of-pocket, it is usually up to the patient to make the right call.
What Does This Mean for the Patient?
In today’s technologically advanced day and age, patients should receive high-quality care no matter how minor the procedure. A board certified plastic surgeon has demonstrated his or her knowledge and ability according to very strict standards and is able to perform cosmetic procedures in high-quality, accredited hospitals known for their outstanding outcomes. Patients can feel safe in knowing that the surgeon has at least five years of experience, has completed a residency in plastic surgery, and has passed both a written and oral exam.
These days, it is not difficult to find out whether or not a plastic surgeon is board certified. The American Board of Plastic Surgery website has a search function that will allow patients to input parameters such as the surgeon’s name, city, state, and zip code. If the surgeon’s name is not found, the American Board of Physician Specialties website offers a broader search that can give consumers information about whether a particular physician has any specialties at all. This way, consumers are able to make better decisions regarding their healthcare.
Consumers who want only the best outcomes from their surgeries should always ensure that their surgeons are indeed certified. Oftentimes, it is tempting to choose a physician who is not certified but who will perform procedures in his or her office at discounted rates; after all, these surgeries are expensive and most people pay for them out of their own pockets. However, when they choose a certified surgeon, they will be able to have their surgeries in accredited hospitals surrounded by only the best healthcare team.
The benefits of becoming board certified are numerous for both the physician and the consumer. Above all else, it demonstrates competency and a willingness to go above and beyond what is required to practice as a physician.