Importance of Board Certification

I recently came across an article in marie claire magazine titled, “Plastic Surgery Nightmares.”  Like so many other “plastic surgery gone wrong” stories that came before it, it highlighted unqualified and unethical doctors (or people pretending to be doctors) that have caused harm to patients hastily performing cosmetic surgery in order to get more money.

Featured in the article was one woman who visited a non accredited clinic, never met the doctor before the procedure, and ended up in the hospital when her breast augmentation procedure had completely cut off the blood flow to her nipples. Another woman featured in the article was getting Botox® injections from their family practitioner whenever she took her kids in for a check-up. She ended up having to be rushed to the hospital, for what she thought was a stroke, when she experienced temporarily blindness from the improper injection.

So why are these doctors getting away with it? Because it a lot of states it is technically not illegal.  Any medical doctor is licensed to practice medicine (even if they have had no training whatsoever in cosmetic and plastic surgery). Also, any board certified doctor can claim “board certification” even if they are board certified for a specialty completely different than cosmetic or plastic surgery. This means a dentist could give you Botox® injections or an orthopedic surgeon could provide liposuction services. This doesn’t mean however, that they are qualified or trained to do so.

That is why it is so very important to check your surgeon’s credentials before you opt to get any work done.  Look at their experience, where they studied their specialty, if they have staff privileges at local hospitals, and most importantly – if they are board certified.  Make sure your surgeon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery – who will only accept candidates whose major professional activity is limited to the field of plastic surgery and who not only tests the skills of the candidates, but requires them to maintain their ethical and moral standing according to the Board’s Code of Ethics.

Another important certification board to look for is ASAPS or The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery which is the leading professional organization of plastic surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery who specialize in cosmetic plastic surgery. This certification goes a step further in ensuring the skill, experience, and expertise of medical doctors in the field of plastic surgery. Most states also have professional affiliation societies, so it is important to check with the American Board of Medical Specialties to check your surgeon’s specific credentials.

I believe in putting patient safety and continued education above all else and have worked hard to achieve board certification with ASAPS and the American Board of Plastic Surgery and retain membership in Georgia Society of Plastic Surgery. Click to learn more about Dr. LeRoy’s credentials.

With the rising popularity of plastic surgery and the increasing ease of purchasing medical supplies online, it is more important than ever to make sure you check and double your surgeon’s credentials before getting a procedure.