10 Facts You Should Know Before You Pick Your Surgeon

Maybe you think having a board-certified doctor is no big deal, but it is. Just like how you wouldn’t opt for your dentist to perform heart surgery on you,  the same rule of thumb holds true for any aesthetic procedure. Don’t fall victim to the potential pitfalls that come along with having a nonboard-certified doctor perform a cosmetic procedure. Make sure you know what to look for and what to avoid when you’re on the search for a beauty expert.
1. Any board-certified doctor is legally certified to practice medicine. But not all are trained or have the knowledge and education to practice cosmetic procedures.
2. Plastic surgeons receive certification from the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Otolaryngology, both of which are recognized by the ABMS.
3. Becoming a board-certified doctor is not a quick and easy process.
4. Being a board-certified doctor means that you have undergone the required amount of training to ensure that you have experience and knowledge to perform a procedure limited to that specialty with consistently good results.
5. There are several years of medical school, residency and training that need to be completed, followed by lengthy and difficult exams that must be passed.
6. Board-certified plastic surgeons have completed medical school, a minimum of five years of surgical training, a residency program in plastic surgery and exams.
7. Board-certified facial plastic surgeons complete medical school and a four-to-six year residency in otolaryngology (head and neck surgery), which includes up to two years of general surgery training and exams.
8. Besides medical school, board-certified dermatologists must complete a one-year medical internship, a three-year residency program and exams.
9. When you think of a general doctor (family, primary or general practitioner) you think of someone you visit for a checkup or to treat you for the common cold. All doctors in the U.S. must complete medical school, residency and training. Surgeons continue their education and choose a specific field of medicine to practice; more specifically, a plastic surgeon is a physician who has completed a specialized residency and an additional plastic surgery training residency. All surgeons are doctors but not all doctors are surgeons.
10. According to La Jolla, CA, plastic surgeon Robert Singer, MD, a cosmetic surgeon and plastic surgeon may sound the same, but the term cosmetic surgeon is not recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. Encino, CA, plastic surgeon George Sanders, MD, adds, “Doctors can call themselves board-certified, but they are only certified in what they hold training in.” To determine if a doctor is board-certified in the specialty for which they were trained, visit certificationmatters.org.


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