Board Certification in Plastic Surgery - What Does It Mean?
As a patient, you owe it to yourself to seek out doctors who are extensively trained and experienced in their fields of expertise in order to receive care of the highest possible quality. If you wanted to relieve pain in your lower back, you wouldn’t go to a doctor who was trained in ear, nose, and throat medicine, would you? Likewise, when it comes to facial and body plastic surgery procedures, you should not entrust your case to just anyone who advertises himself or herself as a “cosmetic surgeon.”
The sad reality is that there are many medical practitioners out there who are promoting themselves as cosmetic surgeons, yet they have never received any specialized training in plastic surgery. Some have actually never received training in any surgical specialty. Nevertheless, because they have medical licenses, they are permitted to “branch out” by offering cosmetic procedures that fall outside of their areas of expertise. Liposuction is a popular offering among such physicians, as are injectable and laser treatments. Unfortunately, most of these doctors fly under the radar, producing results of variable quality. Tragically, the only sure way to stop such “cosmetic surgeons” from practicing plastic surgery is for them to botch a procedure and be prohibited by their state’s medical board from practicing plastic surgery from then on.
So how can you distinguish between a skilled plastic surgeon whom you can trust and a “cosmetic surgeon” who may or may not have your safety and best interests at heart? Minneapolis board certified plastic surgeon Gregory T. Mesna summarizes the difference between the two in a single phrase: board certification.
The American Board of Plastic Surgery
There is one board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) to certify surgeons to perform plastic surgery for both the body and the face: the American Board of Plastic Surgery. The American Board of Plastic Surgery was created in 1937 and holds its members to the highest professional and ethical standards. In order to be awarded certification from the American Board of Plastic Surgery, surgeons must first obtain their medical degrees and then:
- Fulfill stringent plastic surgery residency requirements
- Complete at least five years of rigorous post-graduate training and examination in their surgical specialty or sub-specialty
- Pass both oral and written examinations to demonstrate proficiency
To maintain certification, plastic surgeons must participate in a minimum number of hours of training and continuing education each year, in addition to meeting the highest standards of excellence as set forth by the board. While many board-certified plastic surgeons choose to perform procedures in their own surgical suites, they can also perform procedures in accredited hospitals. This is not the case with non-board-certified physicians.
There are many fine professional organizations to which both plastic surgeons and other physicians may belong, some of which may include the phrases “plastic surgery” or “cosmetic surgery” in their names. However, in order to be considered a board-certified plastic surgeon, a surgeon MUST BE CERTIFIED by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Any other certification will NOT suffice in its place.
Dr. Gregory T. Mesna is proud to have fulfilled all of the requirements mandated for certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, and is committed to surpassing the extremely high standards that organization has set for safety and excellence.
Contact Our Board-certified Plastic Surgeon Today
If you would like to schedule a consultation with board-certified plastic surgeon Gregory T. Mesna, please contact our plastic surgery practice today.