Choosing Board-Certified: Why It Matters & How to Tell

There has been a recent influx of noncertified doctors performing aesthetic procedures. “With changes in insurance reimbursement, the way doctors make money has shifted. More non-core doctors started performing cosmetic procedures and essentially, nothing is considered off limits,” says Las Vegas plastic surgeon Michael Edwards, MD.

“There are many unqualified doctors (even ones who have a medical license) who say they are board-certified and pass themselves off as plastic surgeons,” says Madison, WI, facial plastic surgeon Richard Parfitt, MD.

So what’s a patient to do? Their homework first and foremost. Verify that your doctor is board-certified, in good standing and qualified to perform the procedures that he or she claims they can do. It’s better to see a board-certified plastic surgeon because they are well-versed in the treatment and should something go wrong, they have a better understanding of how to treat it. 

Follow these steps to make sure your doctor is properly certified: 

  • Make sure the person you are going to see is a board-certified doctor with the ABMS.
  • Check your state’s medical board. This will provide information on your doctor’s license and any complaints against him.
  • Confirm that your doctor has hospital privileges. All plastic surgeons should have hospital privileges, even if your procedure is not being performed in a hospital. 
  • Review the doctor’s training, credentials and how much experience he has. Check to see if they are affiliated with the main plastic surgery societies like ASPS or ASAPS.