What is Board Certification and Why is It So Important?


Doctors of Charlotte Plastic Surgery

We’ve all seen glamorous accounts of individuals who received plastic surgery and looked more youthful as a result. And, we’ve heard the horror stories of those whose cosmetic surgeries were badly botched, resulting in either unsatisfactory results or in real safety concerns.

But what is it that ultimately makes the difference between these two very different outcomes? Sometimes, it comes down to the level of research you put into your plastic surgery decision. The best way to get positive results is to make sure you’re choosing a truly reputable surgeon—someone who will put your health and wellbeing above all else.

There are various components in this due diligence process—online research, a consultation (or perhaps more than one), and reviewing surgical before & after photos. Ultimately, something we recommend is that you seek only plastic surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery to perform your procedure.

What is Board Certification?

To be clear, when we talk about Board Certified plastic surgeons, we’re talking specifically about the American Board of Plastic Surgery. While there are other accreditation boards out there, this is really the one that carries the most weight, is the strictest, and requires not only an extremely high level of practice to apply, but also to maintain and keep certification.

The American Board of Plastic Surgery will validate that your surgeon has received the highest level of training from a respectable organization. Indeed, Board Certified plastic surgeons have all proven themselves to possess a high level of technical knowledge; rigorous standards of ethics; and the utmost care for patient health and safety.

You can consider Board certification a kind of warranty for your surgeon’s ability—and we would not recommend ever pursuing a cosmetic or reconstructive procedure from any surgeon who’s not Board Certified.

Determining the Credentials and Experience of Your Surgeon

As a patient, what can you do to ensure that the practice you choose hires only Board Certified plastic surgeons? There are a few steps that we can recommend.

First and foremost, you can always do online research. Many plastic surgery practices will advertise that they are

Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery—and while you should always follow-up and confirm this information, seeing it on the physician’s website is a good sign. You can cross check this, of course, by visiting www.abplasticsurgery.org for their list of certified physicians.  Then also researching online reviews, where previous patients confirm that they had a positive experience with the practice, can also be valuable to your online research.

Once you find a practice that boasts of Board Certified plastic surgeons, the next step is to schedule a consultation with one of the providers. This is perhaps the most important step in your entire research process, as it allows you to meet the surgeon face-to-face, ask questions, clear up concerns, and validate that the surgeon is a good choice for your procedure.

As you talk with your surgeon, we recommend asking the following questions—helpful ways to ensure you are choosing a provider who truly puts patient safety first.

Are you Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons?

As we mentioned above, this is perhaps the most meaningful insurance you’ll find that your surgeon is skilled and capable. Don’t hesitate to ask this key question.

Are you a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons or the American Society of Aesthetic Surgeons?

Surgeons who belong to one of these two groups are by definition certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons. These memberships also confirm that the surgeon has at least six years of training following medical school, with a minimum of three years in a plastic surgery residency. And, it ensures the passage of key written and oral exams. The bottom line: These memberships denote an extra layer of scrutiny, and assurance that the provider in question is highly qualified.

Am I a good candidate for this procedure?

In addition to asking your doctor about formal credentials, also confirm that you are a good fit for the procedure in question — and that the doctor does not see any major health or safety concerns that may hinder your outcome.

Will all of my options be discussed?

There may be more than one way for you to achieve the desired outcome—including both surgical and non-surgical options. Simply confirm with your physician that all the potential treatments will be discussed so that you can choose the option that’ best for you.

Is the facility accredited by the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities, Inc.?

This is a good way to be sure that the facility itself is held to hospital standards for patient safety, and that peer review processes have confirmed all surgical practices to be safety-oriented.

What are the risks and complications of this procedure?

All surgeries entail at least some risk, and it’s important to ask your surgeon to enumerate them for you. A related question you can ask is how complications are handled if they happen after hours or on the weekend. Make sure you know who you can contact, even if the surgeon’s office is closed.

What does the recovery process entail?

Finally, make sure your surgeon goes into detail about any limitations you can anticipate during recovery—and about how long that recovery will last. Pain management is a particularly important topic to address.

Choosing a Private Facility Over a Hospital

A final note we’ll make is that in some cases, you may have an option to have your plastic surgery performed at either a hospital or a private medical center. From a safety perspective, you may actually be better off choosing the latter. Smaller, private facilities can simply do more to control disease and infection, and to ensure each patient receives a high standard of personal care. Again, AAAASF accreditation goes a long way toward confirming a private facility to be good and reputable.

Learn More About the Credentialing of CPS

The smartest thing you can do to make sure your plastic surgery goes smoothly is to verify the credentialing both of your surgeon and of the facility where you have the procedure done. In this post, we’ve offered some basic ways to make that happen.

Our team is always happy to talk with you about the credentialing of our surgeons and to allay any concerns about patient safety. To schedule a consultation with one of our providers, reach out to Charlotte Plastic Surgery today.