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Information About Plastic Surgery Certification


What is Certification and Why Does It Matter?


Are you or someone you know considering surgery? It’s time to become a detective in order to be certain of finding that caring and compassionate plastic surgeon that has the proper credentials for your procedure. Many are surprised to learn that any doctor can perform any type of surgical procedure. It’s up to you, the patient, to research your doctor’s training, certification and credentials to be certain they are qualified to perform the type of surgery you require.

This is often why patients are confused by the terms Cosmetic Surgeon vs. Plastic Surgeon. The title of cosmetic surgeon is appealing, yet in truth the title is open to any doctor who wishes to perform a cosmetic procedure, regardless of their training and certification. So yes, by law, a podiatrist, family physician, gynecologist or otherwise can perform “cosmetic surgery” anywhere on your body.Only a board certified and specially-trained surgeon can be considered a Plastic Surgeon. As reported by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, a Plastic Surgeon is a doctor with more than six years of surgical training and experience, and with at least three years specifically in plastic surgery. Their training and experience make them uniquely qualified to perform your cosmetic or reconstructive procedure.

For this reason, it is suggested that patients closely evaluate the credentials of doctors advertising in-office surgical procedures. Why? Hospitals and licensed surgical centers require proper credentialing for surgeries that are conducted in their facilities. Therefore, doctors from disciplines other than plastic surgery are restricted from conducting surgeries they are not specifically trained for within their facilities.

Desired Results. Patient Safety. Being properly trained and specialized has proven to reduce risk and greatly improve the outcome of all forms of surgery for patients. As a highly trained and skilled plastic surgeon, Dr. Lee also serves as Chairman of the Credentialing Committee at St. Lucie Medical Center where he served previously as Chief of Surgery. (Click for a full bio).

Beyond the practice of physicians expanding their “practices”, there is another trend emerging within the profession. This trend is the development of new “boards” of specialized medicine which are being created by the physicians themselves and have no national recognition whatsoever.

The highest authority for medical education in the United States is the American College of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). This institution declares what boards are worthy of approval and are considered to be the most important line of protection for the public in medicine. Of all the groups that perform surgery, (properly trained or otherwise), only the American Board of Plastic Surgeons (ABPS) has ACGME approval to provide board certification in Plastic Surgery.

Plastic surgery can be an exciting milestone in your life. As with all forms of surgery, it is an important decision that requires investigation. Selecting the right doctor for you requires research online and in person.

We invite you to visit our office to meet S. Darrell Lee, M.D., (a board certified plastic surgeon trained at the renowned Mayo Clinic). Please visit our website to read our patients testimonials. You may also research www.plasticsurgery.org for a complete list of ABPS certified plastic surgeons.