Friday, November 15, 2013


9. “Of course I’m board certified, for what it’s worth.”

A board-certified plastic surgeon should be the best, right? Not always. Because any medical doctor can legally perform any cosmetic procedure, without obtaining any specific certification, and because certification boards are self-regulating, many certifications aren’t so telling. The American Board of Laser Surgery, for example, certifies nurses, veterinarians and oral surgeons in laser surgery — through a take-home written exam and video Web conference. “This being the U.S. and the land of entrepreneurship, just saying you’re board certified is not enough,” says Nahai. “Ask them which board.”

There are some certifications that matter. The American Board of Plastic Surgery’s is one of the most rigorous for this specialty and the only certification for whole-body plastic surgery recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties that provides training and assessment for entire body cosmetic, plastic surgery, and reconstructive treatments. The American Board of Medical Specialties is a nonprofit organization that’s widely recognized as a leader in physician certification. Members of the ABPS have completed residences in both general surgery and plastic surgery and are trained to do all procedures from liposuction to nose jobs. Other ABMS Member Boards may have some specific plastic surgery procedures for which their certified physicians are also qualified (for example, physician members of the American Board of Otolaryngology may be very well qualified to perform nose jobs). The American Board of Medical Specialties runs a website,, where patients can see if their doctor is certified by a rigorous board.