Board Certified Status

What does board certified mean? It really depends on what Board you’re referring to.  There are many boards out there and it can be really confusing for the general public to make sense of it.  To begin with, any physician can call him or herself a “plastic surgeon” without completion of an approved residency in plastic surgery.  Furthermore, there are many “certification boards” that masquerade as legitimately recognized boards.  Many physicians who pose as plastic surgeons use these alternate certification boards as a means to justify their credentials.


There are 24 specialty Member Boards that maintain standards for physician certification, all under a collaboration called American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).  The ABMS is the pre-eminent entity overseeing the certification of physicians in the United States.  It includes the American Boards of Allergy and Immunology, Anesthesiology, Colon and Rectal Surgery, Dermatology, Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Medical Genetics and Genomics, Neurological Surgery, Nuclear Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ophthalmology, Orthopaedic Surgery, Otolaryngology, Pathology, Pediatrics, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Plastic Surgery, Preventive Medicine, Psychiatry and Neurology, Radiology, Surgery, Thoracic Surgery and Urology.

Notice that there is only one ABMS Board for Plastic Surgery, the American Board of Plastic Surgery.  The ABMS does not include boards of cosmetic surgery, facial plastic surgery or similar sounding groups.  If your plastic surgeon is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, it means that they have attended an accredited medical school, completed approved residency training in plastic surgery and passed a rigorous certifying exam.  It’s an indication that they were appropriately trained and vetted in the field of plastic surgery.  When looking for a plastic surgeon, certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery should be the first criteria.  To learn more about this process or if you’re interested in seeking plastic surgery, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Farris.

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