Checking Credentials Before Having Plastic Surgery Is Important

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Plastic Surgeons

American Society of Plastic Surgeons cautions consumers on the importance of checking physician credentials in light of an Arizona doctor's recent license suspension.

On July 10, the Arizona Medical Board announced it had suspended the license of a physician board-certified in internal medicine who had been performing cosmetic procedures. The Board stated that it took action after a third liposuction patient under this physician's care died earlier this month. The suspended physician is not board-certified in plastic surgery or in any surgical field. Internal medicine is the diagnosis and nonsurgical treatment of diseases in adults.

"We're seeing an increasing number of doctors shifting their practices to include plastic surgery procedures," said Roxanne Guy, MD, ASPS president. "Calling yourself a plastic or cosmetic surgeon does not make you a qualified plastic surgeon."

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In most states, licensed physicians are not restricted from performing plastic surgery regardless of their training. Just because a doctor is board-certified does not mean he or she is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). All ASPS Member Surgeons are certified by the ABPS.

To be ABPS-certified, a physician must meet these rigorous requirements:

-- Graduate from an accredited medical school

-- Complete a combination of at least five years of general surgery and plastic surgery residency training

-- Pass comprehensive oral and written exams

ASPS Member Surgeons are also required to regularly attend continuing medical education courses, to adhere to a strict code of ethics and are required to perform surgery in accredited surgical facilities.

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