Among the plastic surgeons in Sacramento, where I practice, there is a wide range in level of qualification. Some of us are certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery, and fewer of us are members of reputable professional organizations such as the American Society of Plastic Surgeons® and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Some surgeons have none of those qualifications.
Those memberships and certifications may just seem like lines on a surgeon’s résumé, but they make a big difference in the operating room. Here’s why qualifications are so crucial:
- Training: To be certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), a surgeon must have graduated from medical school and completed at least 3 years of general surgery residency training and 2 years of further plastic surgery residency training. This means hands-on care with patients and education from both professors and professionals. To join the other organizations mentioned above, the ASPS and the ASAPS, surgeons must have even more years of training specific to plastic surgery. When patients choose surgeons with these qualifications, they can be sure their physicians are competent and knowledgeable.
- Rigorous standards: Not only do the ABPS, ASPS, and ASAPS require their surgeons to take difficult written and oral exams to become members, but they also require regular continuing education to be sure members are keeping up with the latest innovations in plastic surgery. These organizations also have high ethics standards. Choosing a member of these groups means choosing a surgeon who has conducted himself or herself professionally and compassionately.
- Experience: To garner all these qualifications takes time. Surgeons who maintain all 3 have spent years applying their skills. Patients are very likely to find that these surgeons have experience that applies specifically to each case.
Patients can feel at ease knowing these groups have vetted their surgeons thoroughly. I recommend all people interested in getting plastic surgery be sure their physician is a member of these organizations.