The decision to have any kind of plastic surgery shouldn’t be entered into lightly, as an elective alteration to your face or body is a serious medical matter. From Botox injections to eyelid surgery to full facelifts, when choosing the right physician for your facial care, trust, training, and skill are everything. Our faces represent our unique identity and are the source of our communication and expression to the world. When choosing a physician to care for your face, advocate for your health and safety by selecting the correct physician for your procedure. The Texas Medical Board is an outstanding source to understand your physicians’ credentials (www.tmb.state.tx.us).
All plastic surgeons are physicians who have undergone many years of education and training including college and medical school. After 20 years of education, the physician applies for a residency in their chosen specialty. General Plastic surgeons have successfully completed five years of general surgery training concentrating on abdominal surgery followed by one to two years of plastic surgery covering the entire body as well as the face. Most facial plastic surgeons do their residency training in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery which entails one to two years of general surgical training, followed by four to six years of specialty training in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. In Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery residency, the physician focuses exclusively on the anatomy, pathology, surgery, and aesthetics for face, head, and neck.
Select plastic or Head and Neck surgeons with a special interest in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery then compete for one of the few and coveted facial plastic and reconstructive surgery fellowships. This is a full-year program offering a unique opportunity to personally study and be mentored by a Facial Plastic and Reconstructive master surgeon. Many facial plastic surgeons go still further and sit for a two-day written board examination and one-day oral examination given by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. That prestigious certifying board requires not only successful completion of the examination, but also peer review of hundreds of surgeries performed by the applicant. Only surgeons previously certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and/or the American Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery may be certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. It is the high level of excellence and meticulous training that forms the foundation of trust, expertise, and knowledge in this special class of surgeons trained to care for our faces.
As it can sometimes be confusing or misleading, when researching your doctor’s board certification, please keep the following information in mind when choosing a plastic surgeon for your face. These are some clarifying facts regarding the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), and the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ABFPRS):
The large overall governing body for board certification in the United States is the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) which has 24 medical specialty boards, including the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.
The American Board of Plastic Surgery (www.abplsurg.org) is the board overseeing the training and qualifications of general plastic surgeons. The ASPS (American Society of Plastic Surgery) and the ASEPS (American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery) are the two main societies of Plastic Surgeons. The members of ABPS, ASPS, ASEPS are Plastic Surgeons also known as general plastic surgeons.
Boards are not the same as societies or academies. Boards are the governing bodies responsible for examination and training qualifications. Academies and societies are primarily membership groups concentrating more on educational meetings and marketing.
The American Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (ABO) and all of its members are certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) in the exact same manner as the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
The American Board of Plastic Surgery certifies its members to perform plastic surgery on the entire body under the authority of the ABMS.
The American Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and its subspecialty board American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ABFPRS) certifies its members to perform plastic surgery of the head and neck (Facial plastic surgery) under the authority of the ABMS. Many facial plastic surgeons are also members of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) dedicated to education, research, and a Code of Ethics for its specialized, board-certified members who focus on surgery of the face, head, and neck (www.aafprs.org).
?The only two ABMS boards (out of 24 member boards) certifying its members to perform plastic surgery are the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) and the American Board of Otolaryngology/American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ABO/ABFPRS).
The American Board of Plastic Surgery and American Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (and its subspecialty board the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery) are responsible for maintaining high standards and safety criteria for their members performing plastic surgery on the entire body and face respectively.
Understand your physician’s credentials: there are hundreds of “named” cosmetic surgery academies and societies but only surgeons truly credentialed by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and/or American Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (and its sub-specialty board American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery) are board-certified to perform your plastic surgery procedures. Some plastic surgeons also enter aspects of the field through board-certified training in other specialties, including ophthalmology and dermatology.
Only the ABPS and ASPS recommend that your surgeon be certified only by them. If you are seeking plastic surgery on your body then your surgeon should be certified by them. However, if you are seeking facial plastic surgery, your surgeon can be certified by the ABPS or the ABO/ABFPRS.
Just because your surgeon is board certified it does not guarantee a safe and successful outcome. However, board certification is the most basic and minimal criteria to start evaluating your surgeon. The rest depends on training, skill, experience, judgment, talent, and ethics, among other qualities.
At ADVANCED, we want you to advocate for your best Facial Health and Beauty by choosing the best physician for you.
Drs. Michelle and Benjamin Bassichis
Benjamin Bassichis MD FACS is a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon in Dallas, Texas specializing exclusively in cosmetic and reconstructive procedures of the face. To learn more about Dr. Bassichis’ plastic surgery procedures please call (972) 774-1777 to schedule your consultation. www.advancedfacialplastic.com