What Credentials Should You Look For In Your Plastic Surgeon?
If you’re planning to have cosmetic surgery performed, you should do your due diligence to determine whether or not your surgeon has exceptional credentials. What credentials should you look for and what do they mean?
Understanding Your Doctor’s Credentials: What Do These Symbols Mean?
American Society of Plastic Surgeons: The American Society of Plastic Surgeons is the largest plastic surgery specialty organization in the world. They advance quality care to plastic surgery patients by encouraging high standards of training, ethics and physician practice in research plastic surgery, as well as requiring its members to maintain the highest professional, ethical and quality standards. The society is a strong advocate of patient safety and requires its members to operate in accredited surgical facilities that have passed rigorous external review of equipment and staffing.
Education at Prestigious Schools: After earning his Bachelor of Science degree with honors at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Dr. Law attended Emory University, where he graduated magna cum laude, second in his class of over 100 physicians. Dr. Law has trained at some of the most prestigious schools in the nation. He has received training from Emory School of Medicine, University of California (Los Angeles) and the University of Southern California. The minimum requirement for board-certified plastic surgeons is five years of surgical training. His ten years of formal training after medical school amount to twice that of some plastic surgeons. Training in surgery truly is an apprenticeship. The kind of surgeons that one trains under really influences profoundly the kind of surgeon that one becomes during residency training.
Alpha Omega Alpha: Alpha Omega Alpha is a medical honor society that recognizes and advocates for excellence in the highest ideal in the profession of medicine. Up to 16 percent of a medical school class may be elected into Alpha Omega Alpha based on leadership, character, community service, and professionalism. Their values include honesty, honorable conduct, morality, virtue of selfishness, ethical ideals, dedication to serving others and leadership. Members have a compelling drive to do well and to advance the medical profession and exemplify the highest standards of professionalism.
American Association of Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgical Facilities: AAAASF is the gold standard for quality patient care. Its goal is to standardize and improve the quality of medical and surgical care and ambulatory surgical facilities. It assures the public of high standards of patient care and safety of an accredited facility. To receive this accreditation an outpatient surgical facility must meet or exceed high national standards for safety or equipment and staff. Additional staff assisting with surgery must also be trained and licensed or certified.
Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations: The Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, or JCAHO, is a national organization that accredits hospitals, surgery centers and other healthcare venues. The focus of JCAHO is ensuring the entities which it surveys and accredits achieve and maintain the highest possible level of patient safety and patient care excellence. Joint Commission accreditation and certification is recognized nationwide as a symbol of quality that reflects and organization’s commitment to meeting certain performance standards.
The Importance of JCAHO Accreditation: There are very few office-based cosmetic plastic surgery centers in the United States which hold JCAHO accreditation. There are other entities for which outpatient surgery centers may seek accreditation, such as, AAASC or AAAASF. However, the Joint Commission is considered to have the highest standard and be the most rigorous in its survey activities.
American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery: The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery is an organization that promotes continuing medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Members have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and non-surgical aesthetic procedures. All members must adhere to a strict code of ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.
The Importance of ASAPS Membership: Membership remains an exclusive privilege for surgeons who possess the necessary qualifications. Only about ¼ of all American Board of Plastic Surgery certified plastic surgeons have been accepted as ASAPS members. Physicians who have been trained in specialties other than plastic surgery are not eligible for ASAPS membership.
American Board of Plastic Surgery: The American Board of Plastic Surgery promotes safe, ethical, efficacious plastic surgery to the public by maintaining high standards for the education, examination, certification and maintenance of certification of plastic surgeons. It is the only board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties that certifies plastic surgeons.
The Importance of Choosing a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon: Remember, any licensed physician is legally allowed to advertise as a plastic or cosmetic surgeon, even if he or she has no formal surgical training. Board certified plastic surgeons must complete a minimum of 5 years of surgical training following medical school, including an accredited plastic surgery residency program. Selecting a board certified surgeon is your assurance of quality training and credentials.