What Does it Mean When a Plastic Surgeon is Board Certified?

You may have seen some plastic surgeons, like Dr. Ortiz, describe themselves as being “board certified”. But do you know what that means?

Since cosmetic surgery is typically elective, board certification is an important factor in choosing your surgeon. Unlike other specialists, like cardiologists or ENTs, board certification isn’t a requirement for plastic surgeons. In fact, some states allow any licensed physician to legally call themselves cosmetic or plastic surgeons!

That’s why it’s so important to look for board certification. But, what goes into earning this designation?

What Does it Mean for a Plastic Surgeon to be Board Certified?

All cosmetic surgeons must complete extensive post-secondary education:

  • A Bachelor’s degree in a premed major like biology or chemistry
  • A doctor of medicine degree (MD)
  • A three-year surgical residency training
  • A three-year cosmetic surgery residency

The three-year cosmetic surgery residency is key for board certification. A surgeon can legally call themselves a cosmetic surgeon and practice without this specialized residency, but they cannot be board certified.

Board certification for plastic surgeons is awarded by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). To earn board certification, the surgeon must complete their cosmetic surgery residency and pass both a written and oral exam testing their procedural knowledge. The goal of board certification is producing plastic surgeons that are safe, ethical, and have extensive knowledge of plastic surgery in its entirety.

Board certification cannot be awarded by any other organization, including the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, or the State Medical Board (this organization grants medical licenses, not certifications).

board certified plastic surgeon

Why Choose a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon?

As we mentioned, board certification isn’t a requirement to legally be a plastic surgeon. Since cosmetic surgery is “outside” the traditional medical system (i.e. not medically necessary and not covered by insurance), it is extremely important to do research and choose a surgeon that is board certified.

Board certification shows that the surgeon has taken additional steps to perform cosmetic surgery safely and ethically. They have completed the additional residency, as discussed above, and commit themselves to upholding safety and ethical standards as part of their certification.

How to Know if a Plastic Surgeon is Board Certified

First, look for one of the American Board of Plastic Surgery logos on their website:

Dr. Ortiz displays this logo on the home page of this website.

If you don’t see the logo on their website, you can always do a search on the American Board of Plastic Surgery’s website.

The search function on the ABPS website is also a great way to find a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area. If you don’t have a surgeon in mind, start your search there.

Get the Body You’ve Always Wanted at North Raleigh Plastic Surgery

Dr. Ortiz can help you get the body you’ve always dreamed of, with peace of mind that you’re in good hands. Schedule your consultation today by calling us at (919) 532-2270 or filling out our online contact form!