The American Board of Medical Specialists certifies only one board for Plastic Surgery. That board is the American Board of Plastic Surgery. A diplomat of the ABPS has been trained in all aspects of Plastic Surgery not just Cosmetic surgery. (i.e. Burns, congenital deformities, hand surgery, head and neck cancer and micro- surgery).
Training consists of three to five years of general surgery following medical school. This is followed by two to three years of Plastic Surgery training. A member must then pass a written exam and two years later an oral exam that includes examples of the surgeons work with before and after photos of all aspects of plastic surgery. Many advertise “boards” related to cosmetic surgery require no such training or exams. Board certification by a “board” other than the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) may sound impressive but lacks these stringent qualifications.
Do not confuse “Boards” with “Societies.” Real plastic surgeons require board (ABPS) certification before joining plastic surgery societies. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons is our largest society and includes all specialties in plastic surgery (i.e. hand congenital, micro, etc.) The American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery is dedicated to Plastic Surgeons that practice mainly cosmetic surgery. They must be boarded by the ABPS, belong to the ASPS and prove competency and experience in aesthetic surgery.