The aesthetic part of plastic surgery is one of the few remaining parts of medicine that is still fee for service. Consequently, many physicians who have limited or non-existent training in plastic Surgery are engaging in complicated procedures that are far beyond any formal training that they have received.
Is the surgeon board-certified?
The most important part of a plastic surgeon's credentials is his or her certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. These boards are not just exams but are indications of satisfactory completion of more than 15–17 years of premedical, medical, and surgical training and specialization. This will signify that he or she has undergone rigorous and standardized training in a qualified institution and has passed thorough tests that have determined him or her to be a safe, knowledgeable and competent surgeon. Most well-trained plastic surgeons are also pre-trained in another surgical specialty such as general surgery and can be certified by that board, i.e., the American Board of Surgery. Such dual certification translates into your assurance that you are dealing with a seasoned and competent surgeon who truly understands the diverse aspects of surgery and plastic surgery.
What board provided the certification?
The American Board of Medical Specialties establishes strict criteria governing 24 established boards, such as the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Surgery. It also includes other specialties that legitimately and routinely perform cosmetic procedures within their defined scope of practice: dermatology, head and neck Surgery, ophthalmology, and plastic Surgery. Boards such as the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery or the American Board of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery are not under the umbrella of nor recognized by The American Board of Medical Specialties.
Where did the surgeon go to school, and where is he/she licensed to practice?
Be sure your surgeon graduated from a recognized school of medicine. This does not have to mean an Ivy League institution, but a university with a College of Medicine. Also check that the surgeon you are considering has licensure as a physician and surgeon in the state in which he/she is practicing.
Limit your search to practices exclusively or predominantly aesthetic.
In surgery, not unlike other disciplines, the best results are realized when a team of highly skilled individuals perform the same procedures on a daily basis.
Some surgeons have spent time in fellowships where they further refine their skills for specific procedures and techniques with master surgeons.
At Bay Area Aesthetic Surgery, we welcome your questions regarding our experience, training, and credentials. Please don't leave our San Francisco cosmetic surgery office until every question is answered to your satisfaction. Our surgeons take great pride in helping our San Francisco liposuction, facelift, and breast augmentation patients achieve their aesthetic goals.