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While often portrayed as a “turf battle,” the issue of training and credentials in plastic surgery is actually a concern about public safety. Would you want your plastic surgery performed by someone who has never had any formal Plastic and Reconstructive surgical training? It happens all the time, often with unfortunate consequences.

There are many physicians today practicing plastic surgery who have received their formal training in another specialty — often a non-surgical specialty. These doctors may call themselves plastic or cosmetic surgeons, but they may not have undergone residency training in Plastic Surgery.

Some physicians without plastic surgery training, as well as trained and qualified Plastic Surgeons, perform cosmetic surgery in their offices. The difference is that a board-certified Plastic Surgeon will also have privileges to perform these procedures at an accredited hospital.

When we talk about a “Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon,” we mean one who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), the only board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) to certify physicians in the full range of plastic and reconstructive procedures. To be certified by the ABPS, a physician must have at least five years of approved surgical training after graduating from medical school, including a residency in Plastic Surgery. In-depth training encompasses surgical procedures of the face and the entire body. He or she must also pass a comprehensive written and oral exams in Plastic Surgery to receive board certification.

Physicians who call themselves “cosmetic surgeons” could be trained in any specialty, including a non-surgical specialty. They may be board certified in their specialty, but not in Plastic Surgery. Because anyone who has a medical license can legally call him/herself a surgeon even if they have no formal surgical training, prospective patients should choose their surgeon carefully.

Membership in the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) is by invitation only and is limited to American Board of Plastic Surgeons-certified surgeons who demonstrate wide experience in the entire scope of major aesthetic surgical procedures. Display of the ASPS or ASAPS logo ensures that your surgeon is a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon. Learn about Dr. Gregory Park’s credentials.

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