Choosing Your Plastic Surgeon: The Importance of Board Certification

Posted on August 18, 2016 by: Dr. Ronald DeMars

When it comes to choosing your plastic surgeon, there are several factors to consider. Experience, skill and training are just some of the qualities to look for in a plastic surgeon. The only way to ensure your plastic surgeon has these qualities and others is to verify whether he or she is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS).

The ABPS is the only board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) to govern plastic surgeons. A plastic surgeon certified by the ABPS has met a number of rigorous criteria and guidelines including:

Education and Training

A board-certified plastic surgeon has obtained an undergraduate degree and a medical degree (MD) or osteopathy degree (DO) from an accredited university. The surgeon has also successfully completed six years of surgical training after medical school, with at least three of those years focused on plastic surgery residency training. This training covers a wide range of face and body procedures as well as the handling of complications and medical emergencies.


Before becoming board certified, plastic surgeons must pass several comprehensive written and oral exams to demonstrate their grasp of a wide range of plastic surgery procedures and safety protocols. Additionally, plastic surgeons who are board certified by the ABPS are required to continuously further their plastic surgery expertise by learning the latest advances in their specialty.

Ethical Code

Board certified plastic surgeons must adhere to a strict code of ethics set forth by the ABPS. They must also be licensed by the state(s) in which they work, and only operate in accredited, state-licensed or Medicare-certified facilities.

A Word of Caution about Non-ABPS-Certified Surgeons

Any licensed physician can call themselves a plastic or cosmetic surgeon, even if they lack the proper training and skill needed to successfully and safely perform plastic surgery. For instance, a dermatologist or OB-GYN may offer cosmetic procedures but may not be properly trained on how to handle complications. Unfortunately, this happens more often than not and can lead to botched or even deadly outcomes.

About Dr. DeMars

With over 30 years of experience, Dr. DeMars has helped thousands of patients achieve their plastic surgery goals. Dr. DeMars is board-certified by the ABPS and is sought out for his superb surgical skill and compassionate patient care.

To learn more about the plastic surgery options Dr. DeMars offers, please schedule a one-on-one consultation by calling (503) 253-3458.