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I usually see where it is recommended that a plastic surgeon be certified by the ASPS. I assume ther are different boards under this society that give various certifications in plastic surgery.
Here are the facts:
1) The larger overall governing body in the United States is the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).
2) There are 24 medical specialty boards under the ABMS.
3) The ABPS (American Board of Plastic Surgery) is one of the main boards overseeing the training and qualifications of Plastic Surgeons
4) The ASPS (American Society of Plastic Surgery) and the ASEPS (American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery) are the two main societies of Plastic Surgeons.
5) Boards are not the same as Societies or Academies. Boards are the governing bodies responsible for examination and training qualifications. Academies and Societies are merely membership groups or clubs concentrating more on educational meetings as well as Marketing and media.
6) The members of ABPS, ASPS, ASEPS are Plastic Surgeons also known as general plastic surgeons. These are usually made up of surgeons who have finished 5 years of general surgery training concentrating on abdominal surgery followed by 2 years of plastic surgery covering the entire body. It is not rare to spend only 4-6 months out of the 7 years on the face. They can then become certified by the ABPS and can then join the ASPS &/or the ASEPS.
7) ONLY THE ABPS, ASPS, ASEPS which are closely related groups and made up of general plastic surgeons insist on making sure that your plastic surgeon is certified by the ABPS or a member of the ASPS.
8.) The fact is that the field of Plastic Surgery dates back to head and neck surgeons (Otolaryngologists) who created and coined the field.
9) The fact is that the prestigious American Board of Otolaryngology (ABO) and all of its members are certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) in the EXACT same manner as the American Board of Plastic Surgery. The difference is that ABO does not advertise or market itself due to its bylaws.
10) The fact is that the only two ABMS boards (out of 24 member boards) certifying its members to perform "Plastic Surgery" are the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Otolaryngology.
11) The American Board of Plastic Surgery certifies its members to perform plastic surgery on the entire body under the authority of the ABMS.
12) The American Board of Otolaryngology certifies its members to perform plastic surgery on the head and neck only (Facial plastic surgery) under the authority of the ABMS.
13) Some head and neck surgeons train beyond after their initial residency and board certification and complete an accredited fellowship under the governance of the American Academy of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) and then can try to obtain their second board certification under the American Board of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery (ABFPRS).
14) The AAFPRS is the Facial Plastic Surgeon's society similar to the ASPS for Plastic Surgeons.
15) The ABFPRS is a sub-specialty Board under the governance of the ABO.
16) Members of the ABFPRS have to have completed certification by the ABO or the ABPS before being able to sit for the 2-day ABFPRS examination or submit their case logs for certification.
17) Facial Plastic Surgeons have completed a 5 year head and neck surgery residency followed by a one year fellowship exclusively in Facial Plastic Surgery.
19) There are other boards as well such as the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS) and American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (AACS), American Board of Laser Surgery, etc but these are not under the ABMS and are not validated by a single state in the U.S.
20) Only the ABPS and ABO (and its sub-specialty board ABFPRS) are responsible for maintaining high standards and safety criteria for their members performing plastic surgery on the entire body and face respectively.
21) Only the ABPS and ASPS recommend that your surgeon be certified only by them. The fact is that if you are seeking body plastic surgery then they are correct and your surgeon should be certified by them. However, if you are seeking Facial Plastic Surgery then your surgeon can be certified by the ABPS/ASPS or the ABO/ABFPRS.
22) There are amazing surgeons certified by both societies and boards. Unfortunately, there are also some lousy surgeons certified by these governing bodies. Just because your surgeon is "board certified" it does not guarantee a safe and successful outcome. But it is the most basic and minimal criteria to start with. The rest depends on training, skill, experience, judgement, talent, ethics, etc...
I am sorry...I am just as confused as ever on choosing a surgeon! I just want to know how to pick a surgeon based on certification. I would like to talk to doctors about a FACELIFT Which is the more important certification to have, ABPS or ABO and what are the pupose of the "sub specialties" ????
Why does it have to be so complicated??? It's like all surgeons are trying to show they are the most qualified. I try to check out all the websites that "rank" the surgeons but like the doctors, they all have a reason for not giving all the fact, or at least being honest.
No need to be sorry. I completely understand and sympathize with your confusion.
Here are more facts:
1) ABPS and ABFPRS (ABFPRS surgeons by definition all are also either ABO or ABPS certified) are the 2 main boards as far as plastic surgery goes.
2) There are lots of other "boards" that have popped up all over the place. None are validated through the ABMS nor have they received "equivalency."
NOW HERE IS THE KICKER.......
3) Board Certified means very little without the other parts of the puzzle!!! Even if certified by the ABPS or ABFPRS!
There are thousands of unhappy patients who have received horrible results in the hands of all kinds of valid Board Certified surgeons (ABPS and ABFPRS).
The fact is that "board certification" is the minimal starting point in your search. The 2 Boards that you should look at for a facelift are the ABPS and ABFPRS. Once you have ruled out the others, then you have to do more homework such as see their training back ground, their pictures of before and afters, their local reputation and visit them and judge them for yourself. There are hundreds of "Board Certified" plastic or facial plastic surgeons who I would not trust having coffee with and others who I would trust my life and face to! Again, it all just depends.
Now for the final part.....
Are there Oral surgeons and oculoplastic surgeons who do amazing work but who are board certified by other boards other than the ABPS and ABFPRS (ABO)? YES!
However, when you can choose from thousands of plastic surgeons or facial plastic surgeons then going elsewhere is not necessary. Just make sure you do your homework and choose the right surgeon
Finally, you should NEVER go to an ABFPRS (ABO) certified surgeon for body work although there are some who advertise and offer that.
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