Plastic surgery is a complicated specialty, and you want someone who has been expertly trained in it. Board certification by The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) assures you that the doctor has graduated from an accredited medical school, has completed at least six to eight years of surgical training, including general and plastic surgery, and continues with ongoing education and testing.
Buyer beware: Any licensed physician can practice plastic surgery legally. (Yes, an orthopedist can do breast augmentation!) And doctors can call themselves board-certified “cosmetic surgeons” and “aesthetic surgeons,” neither of which are plastic surgeons.
Are all of your friends getting Botox, and you want in? A plastic surgeon can evaluate your entire face to be able to tell you whether Botox is a great idea, or that it may not give you what you want and that laser resurfacing or eyelid rejuvenation surgery may work better.
“You want to make sure your doctor has comprehensive training and a lot of experience, so he can help you achieve the best result for you,” says Dr. Lerman.
Additionally, since most cosmetic procedures are not covered by insurance, your health insurance company won’t vet your surgeon. Board certification in plastic surgery means your doctor is completely prepared if anything goes south, and can admit you to a hospital for care if needed (something that can’t be guaranteed if you go to a different type of doctor, as hospitals only grant privileges to doctors practicing medicine in the field they’re board certified in).
To find out whether a surgeon is board certified by ABPS, look them up on the ABPS database.