Potential patients of plastic surgery in the state of Maryland have a new level of protection thanks to a new law passed in that state. The new law mandates that any advertisement stating that a physician is “board certified” must be referring to one of 24 boards recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) which is the authoritative specialty board for all U.S. physicians. This is very important in aiding patients in determining whether or not a physician they would like to see in consultation and possibly undergo treatment, are actually well qualified to perform this treatment.
As plastic surgery procedures have become more and more popular over recent years, there unqualified practitioners attempting to get involved with providing plastic surgery services despite their lack of training. There have also been an increase in advertising for these services by these unqualified personnel. The typical advertisement will announce the “board certification” of the physician, however this is often a board that is not recognized by the ABMS and has no real training requirements behind it. This new law in Maryland will benefit consumers and patients as it will require that ‘board certified’ in advertisements must refer to a recognized board and therefore a more qualified physician. Florida lawmakers would do well to adopt a similar resolution in our state to help protect patients. The important message for patients is that the physician they are seeking for some type of treatment of procedure should be well trained and qualified to perform the specific procedure or treatment they are interested, and this training is generally represented by having a board certification in the appropriate board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. In plastic surgery this is the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. I am personally a member of this society as well as have earned certifications from the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Plastic Surgery as well as membership in the American College of Surgeons. These certifications must be earned through completion of rigorous training programs, passing written and oral examinations and demonstrating competency in the core skills within these specialties.