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What Does “Board Certified Plastic Surgeon” Actually Mean?

asps logoQuick. What’s the difference between a cosmetic surgeon and a plastic surgeon? Is board certification easy or hard for doctors to get? Most laypeople we’ve met don’t even know there’s a difference, so don’t feel bad if you’re not sure. However, it’s important to understand the distinctions if you’re considering any type of cosmetic surgical procedure.

How are Plastic Surgeons and Cosmetic Surgeons Different?

Strictly speaking, any MD can work under the title of a cosmetic surgeon. A cosmetic surgeon’s training in their specialty might have been only a matter of several months or several days!

Becoming a plastic surgeon, on the other hand, requires an additional three years in a doctor’s medical residency. During this time, they are subjected to highly rigorous training in surgery beyond what is required of other doctors. It is one of the most mentally and physically demanding of all medical specialties. Many plastic surgeons also work in hand surgery early on, which requires a great deal of delicacy and physical skill in comparison to most types of surgery. 

How Does Board Certification for Plastic Surgeons Work?

After any doctor has finished their medical residency and obtained their license to practice, the next step should be to begin the process of obtaining their board certification in their specialty.

The process begins with a lengthy and detailed application to the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ASPS). That is followed by a written test conducted over two days. If the applicant survives this section of the process, they are then expected to go into practice for a minimum of a year. After that, the applicant becomes eligible for a highly detailed oral examination. The exam will explore cases from the doctor’s own time in practice and it will run for two days. Applicants must answer extremely specific and complex questions posed by some of the nation’s finest plastic surgeons. Just over 50 percent of doctors pass the test and only then are allowed to say that they have been board certified as plastic surgeons.

After that, they must renew their certification every ten years to ensure that their skills are up to snuff and they are up to date on the latest advances and research.

Looking for a Plastic Surgeon? Start with Beverly Hills Physicians

Here at Beverly Hills Physicians, we work with only the best surgeons in the Southern California and Greater Los Angeles area but, wherever you obtain treatment, it’s important to understand your doctor’s qualifications. Board certification is one important matter to consider but so is looking at the doctor’s track record. BHP maintains online galleries of before-and-after pictures are one good way to see what might be possible for you. You can learn more about outstanding surgeons on our plastic surgeon’s page.

If you are seriously considering a plastic surgery or a non-surgical cosmetic procedure such as Botox or facial fillers, Beverly Hills Physicians wants to hear from you. Call us at the number on your screen or request a consultation today.

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