ABCPS verification process of plastic surgeons

The goal of our website is to provide users with valuable and reliable information regarding plastic surgeons, their practices, the procedures they perform and the safety and quality of those procedures. In order to do so ABCPS performs a complete screening process for every surgeon before he or she is accepted in our directory. The screening is periodically repeated to make sure high quality standards are maintained. Here are the basic steps we take to make sure you get access only to highly trained, experienced and reliable doctors.

The verification process

The most important stages of our verifying process include the followings:

  1. We verify whether the doctor is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. The ABPS is the only board for plastic surgery recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. Its members have to successfully graduate medical school, complete a 5 years residency in surgery and at least 2 years of training program in plastic surgery. They also have to pass a demanding written and oral examination during which they have to prove necessary knowledge, skills and experience to become board-certified plastic surgeons. Of course there are other boards that can certify doctors, but their standards are lower, so as a patient you should always look for plastic surgeons certified by the ABPS. In addition we recheck board-certification every year by visiting the ABPS official website. (https://www.abplsurg.org/ModDefault.aspx?section=SurgeonSearch )
  2. We check each doctor’s license. In order to obtain licensure each candidate must graduate a nationally or internationally recognized medical school. Licenses are granted by individual states, and the process takes between 3 to 6 months, during which a doctor’s education, training and other aspects are verified. By looking into the Federation of State Medical Boards website (http://www.fsmb.org/ ) we check whether each physician owns a valid license.
  3. We check whether the plastic surgeon has maintained its ABPS certification. Every 10 years board-certified plastic surgeons must file an examination application to the ABMS Maintenance of Certification office. The purpose is to make sure the surgeon has maintained over the years the same high level of medical care he was practicing by the time of his first certification. During the recertification process the ABMS will consider the following aspects:
  • The plastic surgeon has a valid, unrestricted medical license in the U.S. or Canada
  • He participated in lifelong learning programs in his specialty
  • He passes an examination to prove he has the fundamental knowledge to provide high quality medical care in his specialty
  • He passes an evaluation of cases from his practice

            In order to make sure our surgeons have maintained their certification we are constantly calling the ABMS and we are requesting written evidence of board-certification.

  1. We periodically check “The Official ABMS Directory of Board Certified Medical Specialists”. The book provides up-to-date information about plastic surgeons who have met the requirements for board-certification.
  2. We are searching the web for patient testimonies to check the doctor’s professionalism, medical knowledge, procedural, interpersonal and communication skills. Former patients are reliable sources who can testify regarding the doctor’s commitment, the efficiency of his treatments, his relationship with patients, his ability to react to unexpected situations, emergencies and many other details.
  3. Looking through a doctor’s website we check whether his professional activity is limited to a specific area of plastic surgery or he performs various procedures. A surgeon whose practice is performing only one type of procedure is very likely not a board-certified specialist.
  4. We check the surgical facilities and hospitals where the doctor performs his procedures. Plastic surgery procedures can be safely performed in hospitals, surgical centers or office-based facilities as long as they are fully accredited by the Joint Commission of Hospital Accreditation Organization. Their accreditation is the evidence of high quality facility where surgical procedures can be performed safely and efficiently. Another important detail we consider is whether the plastic surgeon has hospital privileges. Accredited hospitals always check a surgeon’s board-certification before granting him operating privileges.

Advice for patients

When it comes to choosing a plastic surgeon personal aspects, like how confident the patient is feeling in the presence of a particular surgeon, matter a lot. Therefore here are some advices future patients can consider in order to find the perfect surgeon and have a pleasant operating experience:

  • Ask friends, family members or other doctors to recommend a plastic surgeon
  • Verify whether the recommended surgeon is board-certified
  • Meet the surgeon and explain your wishes, ask questions regarding the procedure, the risks, expected results and any other issues you might have
  • Verify your surgeon’s experience with the exact procedure you are interested in
  • Ask questions regarding the doctor’s follow-up care policy
  • Ask to view before and after photographs of the procedure you are interested in
  • Read testimonials of previous patients

We hope the above presented information was useful and we invite you to visit our website and find the appropriate plastic surgeon you are looking for.