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Making Sense of Certification

No matter what type of plastic surgery you are considering, one of the most important factors in having a successful outcome is choosing the right surgeon. Almost everyone has heard that they should look for “board certification” when seeking a qualified plastic surgeon (or any other physician, for that matter). Most people don’t really understand exactly what this means and what is involved in becoming “board certified.” Although it may be hard to believe, some of the physicians who are performing plastic surgery today have had no formal surgical training at all.

Certification of your Surgeon


Dr. David Bauer is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) and exerts a great effort and expense to ensure that he continues to adhere to the high standards required for certification by the ABPS. Surgeons with this certification have completed a minimum of six years of surgical training following medical school, including a plastic surgery residency program. During this intensive program, surgeons learn to perform surgical procedures for the entire body and face. At the same time, they develop their technical skill and aesthetic judgment. After training, a surgeon must pass comprehensive oral and written exams before being granted certification.

The American Board of Medical Specialists (ABMS) is the agency which oversees medical sub-speciality boards. More than 100 medical “boards” have been submitted to the ABMS for formal approval, but only 24 have met their strict educational and examination criteria. The 24 approved medical sub-speciality boards are:

Allergy and Immunology, Anesthesiology, Colon and Rectal Surgery, Dermatology, Emergency Medicine, Family Practice, Internal Medicine, Medical Genetics, Neurological Surgery, Nuclear Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ophthalmology, Orthopedic Surgery, Otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat), Pathology, Pediatrics, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, PLASTIC SURGERY, Preventive Medicine, Psychiatry and Neurology, Radiology, Surgery, Thoracic Surgery, and Urology.

The American Board of Plastic Surgery is the ONLY board approved by the American Board of Medical Specialists which has traditionally overseen the training and certification of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons. Certification by any other board does not assure you that a surgeon has the same education and training as required by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Medical Specialists. Most other boards have less strict criteria for certification and some require only a fee to obtain certification. When considering which plastic surgeon you will choose to do your surgery, we encourage you to call the American Board of Medical Specialists at 1-866-275-2267 to see if your surgeon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

Dr. Bauer is also a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) which was established in 1931 and is the largest plastic surgery organization in the world. The ASPS is dedicated to advancing quality care in plastic surgery by encouraging high standards in training, ethics, physician practice, research, and continuing medical education. All members of the ASPS are required to be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.