Checking Credentials No matter what type of plastic surgery you're considering the most important factor in its success is the surgeon you choose. Remember, in most states, including Texas, it is legal for any physician who holds a medical license, with or without surgical training, to advertise as a plastic or cosmetic surgeon. That's why understanding board certification is so important for the prospective patient.
Board Certification The Texas Society of Plastic Surgeons (TSPS) requires its members to be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) is the only board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) to certify in the plastic surgery specialty. ABPS and ABMS hold plastic surgeons to the highest level of ethics and training. Board certification from the ABPS means that the doctor has graduated from an accredited medical school and completed at least five years of additional residency - usually three years of general surgery (or its equivalent) and two years of plastic surgery. The physician must also practice plastic surgery for two years and pass comprehensive written and oral exams.
Hospital Privileges Even if your surgery will be performed in the physician's own surgical facility, he or she should have privileges to perform that procedure at an accredited hospital in your community. Having hospital privileges means the surgeon is subject to approval by a body of his or her peers. Call the hospital to make sure.
Texas Medical Board You may also check with the Texas Medical Board to see if any of the physicians you are considering have been cited for disciplinary actions or have restrictions placed on their licenses. The Texas Medical Board can be reached at www.tmb.state.tx.us or at (512) 305-7010.
TSPS Membership v. Licensure Yes, there are physicians practicing plastic surgery in Texas that are not members TSPS. Membership is not mandatory to practice medicine. A physician is licensed by the State of Texas to practice medicine. Membership in TSPS or any state medical professional society is purely voluntary.
Why Aren't All Plastic Surgeons Members of TSPS? There are several reasons why a plastic surgeon may not be a member of TSPS:
They have chosen, for whatever reason, not to apply for membership
They are not eligible for membership - meaning they do not meet the criteria previously mentioned.