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A Dirty Little Secret About Some Doctors Who Perform Plastic Surgery

Virginia Center for Plastic Surgery

article courtesy Eric Desman, M.D.

CLICK HERE to visit the website of Eric Desman, M.D.

Any licensed doctor, can perform plastic surgery even though they have not received extensive, specialize training to do so. It is even legal in Virginia for oral surgeons to perform facelifts, eyelid surgery, and more. There are doctors who have only recently begun to offer their patients cosmetic procedures, and they don't have to obtain surgical privileges at a quality hospital to do so.

To obtain the results you're looking for, Patients are advised to find a doctor who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), the only board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties to certify a surgeon in plastic surgery of the face and of the entire body. Certification by the ABPS is "the gold standard" for plastic surgeons because it signifies that the surgeon has had formal, specialized, training in an accredited plastic surgery residency program.

When you're talking to an ABPS Board Certified surgeon you're talking to a doctor who is exhaustively trained in technique, patient care and patient safety. A Doctor who is ABPS Board certified has at least 5 years of surgical training, additional, specialized, training in plastic surgery, has passed a rigorous 2 day written examination and a separate 2 day oral examinationÒ an examination only held once a year and so rigorous that nearly 20% of the doctors taking the exam, FAIL.

Q: How does a doctor become Board Certified?

By choosing a plastic surgeon who is certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery, Inc., you can be assured that the doctor has graduated from an accredited medical school and has completed at least five years of additional training as a resident surgeon. This includes a minimum three-year residency in an accredited general surgery program and a minimum two-year residency in plastic surgery. To become certified, the doctor then must successfully complete comprehensive written and oral exams. Board Certification is a voluntary process.

Q. Why is The American Board of Plastic Surgery different from other plastic surgery (or cosmetic surgery) Boards?

ABPS is one of the 24 specialty boards recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). It is the only ABMS Board that certifies in the full spectrum of the entire specialty of plastic surgery.

Q. What is the difference between membership in a society, association, academy and being a Diplomate of ABPS?

The ABPS Diplomate is a certified physician who has met the requirements outlined above. The mission of The American Board of Plastic Surgery, Inc. is to promote safe, ethical, efficacious plastic surgery to the public by maintaining high standards for the examination and certification of plastic surgeons as specialists and sub specialists. Societies are professional associations. The specific society, association or academy should be contacted for specific membership requirements and mission.

Q. Define accreditation and certification, and licensure.

Licensure is designed as minimum standard necessary to practice medicine. It is a public function, administered by the states, the standards are established through a public process and all actions taken - both in granting a license and in restricting or withdrawing a license - are matters of public record. Licensure is not specialty specific and permits an individual to provide to the public any medical or surgical service he/she desires.

Certification by a specialty Board attests to 1) completion of a prescribed set of education and training requirements in a specialty of medicine beyond the minimum requirements for licensure, and 2) passage of examination that test the fund of knowledge in that specialty. Most specialties now also require periodic recertification, which generally requires completion of specified continuing education and successful completion of a further examination testing the fund of knowledge in that specialty. Many health care organizations and health plans now require certification in order to provide services in the relevant specialty area. Board-certified physicians govern specialty Boards in that specialty.

Accreditation is awarded to licensed physicians who have conducted their professional activities in accordance with standards set to define quality in professional practice. These standards include ethical behavior; absence of disciplinary actions by hospitals, licensing agencies, or financing programs; participation in peer review; participation in clinical self-assessment; operation of a safe, patient-centered practice that meets criteria for quality; and participation in measurement of clinical performance and patient care results, including patient satisfaction. Accreditation is not specialty specific. Accreditation reports include information on the physician's license status and specialty board certification. The American Medical Accreditation Program can be contacted for more information. Plastic surgeons who are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and who are members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons have undergone rigorous training and have been evaluated by their peers on their practice of plastic surgery, from both the technical and ethical perspectives. Board certified plastic surgeons should be eligible for consideration to perform the above procedures by virtue of their plastic surgery training and certification process. Continuing Medical Education is an important component of clinical competence for surgeons. Members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons are required to obtain 150 hours of continuing medical; education within a 3 year period. A minimum of 50 out of the 150 hours must be specific to the practice of plastic surgery.

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