There has been a lot of recent media coverage about breast implants and BIA-ALCL (breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma). Many of our patients have come in or called asking about their implants and risk of BIA-ALCL. They ask if their implants need to be removed. The short answer is “probably not”. BIA-ALCL is a very rare lymphoma that is primarily associated with textured implants and also depends on the type of texturing used. Certain brands of textured breast implants have a higher incidence of BIA-ALCL than others but even in this category, the incidence is rare. In patients who are not having any problems that have textured implants, we would not recommend removal or replacement unless there was some other reason to change or remove the implants. It is important to follow up with your plastic surgeon if you have implants especially if you notice any changes in your implants. Implants do not last forever and need to be replaced periodically. That is why periodic follow up (we like to see our patients every year) is so important. It also gives us an opportunity to educate our patients on any new information regarding their implants.
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Now that we know what it takes to become Board Certified in Plastic Surgery, how do you know if your surgeon is indeed Board Certified in Plastic Surgery? There are a number of ways to check.
*You can ask. Make sure you ask “are you Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic surgery” or “are you Board Certified in Plastic Surgery”. This is very important. Simply being “Board Certified” or board certified by a board other than the American Board of Plastic Surgery is not enough.
*Check to see if your surgeon is a member of the American Society of Plastic surgeons (ASPS, https://www.plasticsurgery.org/) or the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS). In order to be members of either of these organizations, you have to be board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
Remember, there is no Board Certification for Cosmetic Surgery by the American Board of Medical Specialties.
There are other specialties that perform Plastic Surgery procedures of defined areas such as around the eyes (oculoplastic surgeons) or the head and neck area (Facial Plastic Surgery). Many of these surgeons are excellent and they have their own Board Certifications.
In my next post, I will discuss some of the other organizations that you should be cautious about.
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In this post, I would like to clarify the issue of Board Certification in Plastic Surgery. Many doctors are “Board Certified”. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they are Board Certified in Plastic Surgery or anything resembling Plastic Surgery. Board Certification is usually associated with a specific area of medicine. For example, an OB/GYN doctor would be Board Certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (https://www.abog.org/) and an Internal Medicine doctor would be Board Certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine (https://www.abim.org/). Plastic Surgeons are Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (https://www.abplasticsurgery.org/). All of these board certifications fall under the American Board of Medical Specialties (https://www.abms.org/). This organization works with the 24 specialty boards to maintain the standards for Board Certification. Confused yet?
What is confusing is that there is no law regarding what a doctor can label himself as and there are many “Boards” that do not fall under the American Board of Medical Specialties. There is no board certification for Cosmetic Surgery included in the American Board of Medical Specialties.
Residents entering plastic surgery training must complete 5 progressive years of clinical general surgery residency training, sufficient to qualify for certification by the American Board of Surgery (ABS), or approved alternate subspecialty pathway.
The Board requires a minimum of 3 years of Plastic Surgery Training for Independent programs and 6 years for Integrated programs. The final year must be at the level of senior responsibility.
To qualify for an Application for Examination and Certification in Plastic Surgery, candidates must have a Final Confirmation Letter issued by the Board.
Candidates must hold active, inpatient admitting medical staff privileges in plastic surgery in a United States, Canadian or international hospital throughout the examination process.
Candidates must have a current, full, valid and unrestricted license to practice medicine with an expiration date valid through the examination.
Active practice in plastic surgery is a requirement for admissibility to the Oral Examination.
If you meet the above requirements, you can sit for the written and oral exam which you must pass to become Board Certified. If you have finished an accredited Plastic Surgery residency but have not take your written or oral board exam, you are considered to be Board Eligible. After you become Board Certified, you have to maintain your certification (Maintenance of Certification) and, until recently, you had to re-certify every 10 years by taking a written examination.
So now you know how to become Board Certified in Plastic Surgery. In the next post, I will discuss how to know if your Plastic Surgeon is Board Certified and what some of the other “Boards” are and what their requirements are.
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