“Board Certified” simply means a physician has been certified by a group of his or her peers. This organization is referred to as a “Board”. The Board Certification process exists in some fashion for each individual medical specialty. True Board Certification can only be given from a Board that is recognized by The American Board of Medical Examiners (ABME). The ABME regulates all medical boards to assure that their criteria are adequately stringent.
“Board Certified in Plastic Surgery” means that a surgeon has been awarded Board Certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
Board Certification in Plastic Surgery is awarded only after finishing a formal residency in Plastic Surgery and also passing a rigorous written examination (usually taken 6 or 18 months after completion of all training) and a difficult oral examination which includes cases from a surgeon’s own practice (usually taken at least 18 months following completion of all training).
Criteria that Plastic Surgeons must complete prior to taking the American Board of Plastic Surgery exams include:
1. College (usually 4 years)
2. Medical School (usually 4 years)
3. Internship in General Surgery (1 year)
4. Residency in either General Surgery, Otolaryngology, Orthopedic Surgery, Urology or Neurosurgery (usually 4 to 7 more years)*
5. Additional residency in Plastic Surgery (2 to 3 more years)*
6. Additional fellowships (specializations) may be performed in addition to the above training
*a combined residency of 3 or more years of general surgery plus 3 years of plastic surgery now is also accepted
Board Certification in Plastic Surgery can only be awarded by the The American Board of Plastic Surgery.
Board Certification in Plastic Surgery can not be awarded by any other organization. If a physician is awarded a “board certification” by any board other than The American Board of Plastic Surgery, then they are not truly a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.