Board Certification


A person considering cosmetic surgery should be aware of the importance of board certification and the distinction among the various board certifications.

All board certifications in the United States are governed by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) including The American Board of Plastic Surgery. Any board certification that is not recognized by the ABMS is not a true board certification in that its members do not have to comply with the rigorous testing and standards delineated by the ABMS. It is a similar idea to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) vigorously testing medications prior to allowing them to be used in the United States.

Many practitioners who try to perform cosmetic surgery claim to be “board certified cosmetic surgeons” or “certified by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery.” Please be aware, for your own safety, that there is no Board of Cosmetic Surgery under the ABMS and that any doctor can claim to be a cosmetic surgeon. There are no laws that prohibit any M.D. from performing cosmetic surgery. Unfortunately, it is left up to the patient to know which doctor is appropriately trained, certified, and experienced to perform their cosmetic surgery to achieve the results they desire.

The important question to ask prior to your cosmetic surgery is “Are you certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?” not simply “Are you board certified?”

Also be aware that a “facial plastic surgeon” is usually certified in otolaryngology and otherwise known as an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor. They are not true face and body plastic surgeons and are not certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. In some cases “cosmetic surgeons” are actually Ear, Nose, and Throat doctors who have no formal training in cosmetic surgery.

Dr. Pastrick is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. This board requires, after medical school, a minimum of three years of training in general surgery followed by a minimum of two years of plastic surgery training in an accredited residency program. Plastic surgery residency programs have areas of training specifically dedicated to cosmetic surgery. Upon completion of the training, the plastic surgeon must pass a comprehensive written examination and two days of intense oral examinations before being certified. A re-certification is required every ten years.