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What does it mean for a plastic surgeon to be “board certified”?

Board certified plastic surgeon Charlotte NC

If you’re looking for a plastic surgeon, then you might have received the advice to look for a surgeon who is “board certified.” What does it mean for a plastic surgeon to be board certified? What’s required to earn this certification? Why does it matter whether your plastic surgeon is board certified or not?

Certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery requires rigorous training and testing

For medical professionals in the field of plastic and cosmetic surgery, the most important specialty board is the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). In order to receive certification by the ABPS, a surgeon must first graduate from an accredited medical school and spend three to five years in a surgical residency program. Next, the surgeon must complete a specialized plastic surgery residency. Then he or she must pass rigorous exams, both written and oral by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. This allows the surgeon to receive certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, and then he or she can legitimately claim to be “board certified.”

However, the candidate is not finished yet. Maintenance of the certification requires that the surgeon complete continuing education every year, including education in patient safety. Additionally, they must ensure that their procedures are performed in accredited facilities (hospitals and surgical facilities), which are themselves required to maintain the highest levels of cleanliness, maintenance, and other patient safety standards. To remain certified, surgeons must also adhere to a strict code of ethics.

Why do I have to consider board certification?

The ABPS certification gives patients peace of mind as they go about the difficult process of selecting a plastic surgeon. As you choose a plastic surgeon, there’s more to think about than when you have many other types of surgery (from appendix removal to heart surgery). For most other types of surgery, you will be referred to a surgeon by your doctor or by an emergency room. Additionally, your medical insurance company will likely pay for the surgery. The process of ensuring that your surgeon is competent is generally performed by your other doctors and the insurance companies, who invest effort into vetting surgeons. You don’t have to wonder whether those surgeons have the skills he or she claims to have, because they’ve already been vetted by experts.

However, when you’re having an elective procedure that won’t be paid for by insurance, then there’s no one else to check on your surgeon for you. Instead, you’ll need to take the extra step of ensuring that you’re trusting the right person with your care. By certifying that a surgeon meets certain standards of quality, the ABPS helps to take the guesswork out of choosing a surgeon. Board certification by the ABPS should be the minimum standard for any plastic surgeon you’re considering. (You can verify that any surgeon you’re considering is certified by going here.)

What about other certifications?

Don’t be confused or duped by other “certifications” that some surgeons may claim to have. The only plastic surgery board that is approved by the American Board of Medical Specialties (the organization that has approved medical specialty boards for nearly a century) is the American Board of Plastic Surgery. If you see a surgeon claiming to be “certified” by another board of plastic surgery, cosmetic surgery, or the like, this should raise a red flag. These alternative certifications are not widely recognized as legitimate, and it’s doubtful that a highly competent plastic surgeon would claim membership in one of these instead of in the ABPS. Although many plastic surgeons do hold membership in other professional organizations (such as the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, or ASPS) along with their ABPS certification, other memberships or certifications should never replace the ABPS. To be called “board certified,” a surgeon should have recognition by the ABPS.

What does “double board certified” mean?

Although the certification of the American Board of Plastic Surgery is the most important, there are also some plastic surgeons who choose to go the extra mile and achieve board certification in another specialty as well. This may be in general surgery, or in some cases, in another surgical subspecialty (for example: ear, nose, and throat (ENT) surgery, orthopedics, or oral and maxillofacial surgery). These surgeons are often referred to as “double board certified.”

Like ABPS certification, the process for board certification in another surgical specialty is generally quite rigorous, requiring years of training and passing multiple examinations. Each board certification also requires ongoing maintenance in the form of continuing education. Only a small percentage of plastic surgeons choose to commit themselves to achieving and maintaining double board certification.

A board certified plastic surgeon can get you the best possible results

When you trust your body and/or face to a board certified plastic surgeon (certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery), you can be certain that you’re in good hands. You can relax knowing that your surgeon’s knowledge and technical skill has been verified by experts. If you’re considering any cosmetic procedure, your search for the right surgeon should begin with looking for ABPS certification.

Dr. Eric MilesHere at North Charlotte Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, Dr. Erik Miles has dedicated his career to serving patients at the highest possible level of quality. His reason for coming into work every day is the incredible joy and transformation he’s seen in his patients when they finally get the bodies they’ve been dreaming of. Because of his dedication and commitment to providing the best possible care to his patients, he’s worked incredibly hard on his knowledge and technical skills earning him double board certification. This is a level of competency and training that is achieved by only a few plastic surgeons.

If you’re searching for a highly qualified, board certified plastic surgeon Charlotte NC or the surrounding area, please contact our office to schedule your consultation with Dr. Erik Miles.

Dr. Erik J. Miles
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