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Maintenance of Board Certification

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The American Board of Plastic Surgery requires all member surgeons certified after 1995 to participate in a Maintenance of Certification process. Older surgeons who were certified before 1995 are grandfathered in.

The maintenance program measures a surgeon’s dedication to continuing education. As a Board Certified surgeon who got his certificate in 1999, I participate in the MOC process. What this involves is scrutiny on the Boards part of my cases, patient satisfaction, professional standing with the hospitals and state licensure board. In addition, I have to take and pass a written exam every 10 years to keep my Boards. I took the test early in 2007 and am certified through 2019.

When you see a Louisville Plastic Surgeon ask if they participate in the MOC process.

Lee Corbett, MD

While seeing patients today in my Louisville, KY Plastic Surgery office, I received the newletter from the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

On the cover was a photo of the Chairman of the Board, Dr. Michael Sadove. Also  newly elected to the Board was Dr. Robert Havlik. Both of these accomplished surgeons and national leaders trained me during my Plastic Surgery residency!

In addition, our Department Chairman, Dr. Jack Coleman is Past Chair of the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

Congratulations  to my former teachers, Drs. Sadove and Havlik!

Lee Corbett, MD

Good question. As a Louisville Plastic Surgeon I am so used to seeing all of them that I mistakenly assume everyone else does too. I figured out most people don’t a few years ago. A patient asked me if I was Board Certified. I was and told her so. Then I asked her if she knew what that even meant. She didn’t, she had just been told to make sure she asked that question.

So here are the explanations of what you might see in a Plastic Surgeons office.

M.D.: This person is a medical doctor.

FACS: This means your surgeon is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. In order to be a Fellow you have to be Board Certified in a surgical field and be in good standing within your respective society. You can link to their website by clicking here.

ASPS: This stands for American Society of Plastic Surgeons. This is the mainstream society for most Plastic Surgeons. In order to be a member you must complete a proper Plastic Surgeon residency. At that point you are a Candidate Member. Once the Plastic Surgeon passes his Boards (see my blog on Board Certification), he or she can become an Active Member of the ASPS. You can link to their website by clicking here.

ASAPS: This is the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. This is a subset of the ASPS. The members of this society must be Board Certified Plastic Surgeons whose practices are heavily devoted to cosmetic surgery. You can link to their website by clicking here.

Any society with the words “cosmetic surgery” in its’ title is going to be made up primarily of Dermatologists but can include physicians from any training background who practice cosmetic medicine.

Hopefully this gives you a better understanding of what all those framed diplomas on your surgeons wall mean. If you see one you don’t recognize, ask!

Lee Corbett, MD


All posts on this blog are authored by Dr. Lee Corbett who has practiced cosmetic plastic surgery in Louisville, KY for 11 years.