What ABFPRS Certification Means
Your surgeon’s certification by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery means that:
- You have found a “board-certified facial plastic surgeon”
- Your surgeon has met the rigorous standards of the ABFPRS
The ABFPRS credential signifies that your surgeon:
- Has completed an approved residency after medical school in one of two surgical specialties focusing on facial plastic surgery (otolaryngology-head and neck surgery or plastic surgery);
- Is double-boarded, having earned prior certification in one of those specialties through the American Board of Medical Specialties or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Canada;
- Has successfully completed a two-day examination;
- Has submitted for peer-review an acceptable record of at least two years’ clinical experience, including operative reports of a minimum 100 facial plastic surgeries;
- Operate in an accredited facility; and
- Hold proper licensure and subscribes to the ABFPRS Code of Ethics.
Board certification is just the beginning…
A patient choosing a surgeon for facial plastic surgery must take the responsibility for asking questions and choosing the right surgeon. Ask the surgeon for names of patients who have and the surgery you have in mind, and who have given the surgeon permission to provide their names to prospective patients. Check those patients’ experiences. Make sure the surgeon you choose is one you can relate to and who answers your questions. Also, not every surgeon performs every facial plastic surgery procedure. Some focus on specific procedures. Make sure your surgeon is experienced in the procedure you want and regularly performs that procedure. No medical or surgical certification board, including ABFPRS, guarantees competency or results.
About the ABFPRS
Established in 1986 to improve the quality of medical and surgical treatment available to the public, the ABFPRS has set standards for the training and practice of facial plastic surgery and determines which candidates meet these standards through a rigorous program of examination and certification.
The ABFPRS has been found equivalent to primary boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties in every state that has set standards for such equivalence. Although not a primary ABMS board itself, the ABFPRS requires prior certification by one of the two ABMS boards that examine for expertise in facial plastic surgery (the American Board of Otolaryngology or the American Board of Plastic Surgery) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Canada.
The ABFPRS is officially sponsored by national specialty societies, including the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, the American Rhinologic Society, the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and the Canadian Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery- together with numerous state and local specialty societies.
Verification of certification
To verify your surgeon’s ABFPRS certification, contact the Board office.Content provided by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
What is a Facial Plastic Surgeon?
Appearance plays a big role in the lives of most people. We begin the day looking in the mirror-washing our face, brushing teeth, combing hair, shaving, putting on make-up. For some, the reflection can cause displeasure due to accidents, birth defects, or other signs such as premature aging. Many of these conditions can be improved surgically and many people choose to put their faces in the hands of a facial plastic surgeon. A facial plastic surgeon specializes in performing cosmetic and reconstructive surgery on the face, head, and neck region.
A facial plastic surgeon is typically board certified in otolaryngology, the specialty addressing surgery of the head and neck. These surgeons perform the majority of elective facial plastic surgery procedures in the United States. The facial plastic surgeon has spent five to six years in postgraduate surgical training. Training includes one year of postgraduate training in general surgery and at least four additional years of specialty training in head and neck surgery and facial plastic surgery. Concentrating on the complex anatomy, physiology, pathology, biochemistry, and bacteriology of all the organs and structures of the head and neck, provides the facial plastic surgeon a strong focus on the anatomical region being treated.
When do you need a facial plastic surgeon
The reasons for facial plastic surgery are varied. Some patients suffer from birth disfigurements such as birthmarks, cleft palates, and congenital facial deformities. Others are victims of accidents, burns, diseases, and the treatment required for such diseases. Many choose to change some of the signs of premature aging or the shape or size of a facial feature that has bothered them for years.
One aspect of facial plastic surgery that cannot be ignored is the patient’s mental and emotional attitudes. Facial surgery can help you increase self-confidence because, for most people, when they look better, they generally feel better.
Facial Plastic Surgeons may perform any or all of the following:
Surgery of the nose where cartilage and bone are reshaped and reconstructed; excess bone or cartilage may be removed. Recovery time is approximately one week. Results: Permanent.
Surgery of the eyelids where fat and excess skin, bags, pouches, wrinkles in the eye area, are removed. Recovery time is approximately one week. Results: Lower lids, permanent; upper lids, ten years.
In facelift surgery, excess skin is removed and muscles are tightened. Recovery time is approximately two weeks. Results: From five to 10 years, depending on the patient.
Surgery to minimize forehead lines and wrinkles, and elevate brows to reduce lid drooping. Recovery time is about 10 days. Results: 10 years.
Surgery beneath the chin to eliminate “double” chin; excess fat is removed. Results: Generally permanent.
Surgery of the chin where a receding chin is augmented with bone or an implant or a too prominent chin is reduced. Recovery time is about one week. Results: Permanent.
Surgery of the ear, where ears can be “pinned back” by reshaping the cartilage. Recovery time is about one week. Results: Permanent.
Laser Skin Resurfacing
Removal of the upper layer skin using a laser, resulting in smoother and less wrinkled skin. Recovery time is about 10 days. Results: Generally permanent.
Controlled removal of the outer layer of skin with specific chemicals. Recovery time, depending on the nature of the chemical, is from one to three weeks. Results: Generally, permanent.
Abrasion of the skin with either a wire brush or diamond fraise to remove the upper layer of the skin resulting in smoother, less wrinkled skin. Recovery time is about 10 days. Results: Generally permanent.
Surgery to repair or reconstruct facial features. This includes scar revision, fracture repair, laceration repair, vascular birth marks, cleft lip and palate, craniofacial deformities, orthognathic surgery, free flaps, and other cancer reconstruction.
Choosing a facial plastic surgeon?
One of the most important factors for successful facial plastic surgery is the relationship between the patient and surgeon. An initial consultation provides the patient and surgeon an opportunity to discuss all that is involved in the desired procedure. It is advisable for the patient to write questions down before the consultation.
You may want to ask the following questions:
- Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
- How long will the operation take?
- What is the recovery time?
- What are the risks involved?
- Is post-operative medication necessary?
- What is the charge for the procedure?
It is also a good idea to write down the answers the surgeon provides so that the patient can review these carefully. The consultation also provides the patient a chance to experience the personality style of the surgeon to see if it is compatible with the patient’s.
The patient should be prepared to be candid with the surgeon about their medical history, any medications, allergies, habits, and background that could affect the outcome of the surgery. The surgeon will also explain to the patient their experience in the area of facial plastic surgery the patient is considering. Some consultations may include computer imaging to show the patient what the surgery might accomplish. The surgeon can also describe what anesthesia the surgeon uses for each of the surgeries the patient is contemplating. The surgeon might also advise on supportive surgery to enhance the outcome of the specific surgery. It is crucial for the patient to find out about all aspects of the proposed surgery.
Content provided by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Trust Your Face to a Facial Plastic Surgeon
Plastic and reconstructive surgery is increasingly becoming a part of mainstream American society. More and more of us are considering cosmetic surgery to improve our looks as well as our self-esteem.
With the vast numbers of surgeons in practice today, it is important for you to make informed decisions when considering an elective procedure such as cosmetic surgery. One of the most confusing issues today is that of board certification. It is important for you to recognize and seek out a surgeon who is board certified in the correct field of expertise. If you are considering a cosmetic procedure of the face and neck, that area of expertise is facial plastic surgery.
There are a number of boards that certify surgeons performing facial plastic surgery, which are either member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) or have been deemed equivalent to the boards of the ABMS. These boards include the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the American Board of Otolaryngology (covering the specialty of head and neck surgery). Other specialties also address various aspects of plastic surgery; those include dermatology, ophthalmology, and general plastic surgery.
Electing to undergo cosmetic surgery is a highly personal decision and you should take the time to find the right surgeon. The following are tips to assist you in the making informed decisions for your specific needs:
Ask around. When seeking a surgeon, word-of-mouth referrals are a good place to begin your search. Consult with friends who have undergone a procedure, ask your family physician or a trusted physician or inquire at your local salon as to which doctors in the area have good reputations for performing facial plastic surgery.
Do your homework. Check to make sure that the surgeon’s area of expertise and corresponding board certification is in facial plastic surgery. The AAFPRS has a website, www.aafprs.org, where you can locate a facial plastic surgeon in your geographic area.
Be informed. You can obtain complimentary background materials on specific procedures by visiting www.aafprs.org. Studying these materials before you contact a surgeon will make you better informed and help you develop a list of questions you can ask to prospective surgeons.
What do I need for my first appointment?
Before your initial consultation, it’s helpful to print out and complete all of our patient intake forms ahead of time. This will save you time prior to your appointment and ensure we have everything we need to give you a thorough consultation. You can download the forms here. If you have any questions, contact us for assistance.