Choosing the Best Plastic Surgeon
Dr. Joseph A. Mele, MD, FACS, is Board Certified by two prestigious American Board of Medical Subspecialties (ABMS) Boards: The American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Surgery. What does it mean to be a Board Certified doctor? What is the ABMS? Why is Board Certification important?
The truth is anyone can form a Board. Some of these non-ABMS boards have names that sound better than the originals they are trying to mimic; however, when it comes to Plastic Surgery, The American Board of Plastic Surgery is only real board for certifying Plastic Surgeons.
When we talk about Board Certification, the American Board of Medical Subspecialties (ABMS) is the board we are talking about. Since 1933, the ABMS has represented the gold standard of medical education. ABMS Certification is more than just the ultimate mark of accomplishment at the end of a doctor's training. With Maintenance of Certification (MOC), Board Certification has also become the best way to make sure your Plastic Surgeon is keeping up with latest standards of practice.
The ABMS is a not-for-profit organization consisting of 24 medical boards and is the preeminent entity certifying all physicians in the United States. The ABMS has only one board for plastic surgery: The American Board of Plastic Surgery.
The American Board of Plastic Surgery
If you are considering plastic surgery, whether reconstructive plastic surgery or cosmetic plastic surgery, The American Board of Plastic Surgery is the certification you want your plastic surgeon to have. You can be assured that a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, like Dr. Mele, has received the proper training, was trained in the proper setting and has passed vigorous testing prior to receiving their Certification. The American Board of Plastic Surgery is the only board dedicated to helping patients by providing information about the board certification process and identifying which doctors are board certified.
Every Board Certified Plastic Surgeon has passed a written Qualifying Examination and an oral Certification Examination. Since 1995, in order to maintain certification, every Board Certified Plastic Surgeon must also continue to meet or exceed both educational and ethical standards established by the board. This means supplying documentation of continued medical education, participating in peer review, maintaining medical licensure and of course, paying dues. Passing a comprehensive Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Examination is also required every ten years. Failure to take and pass the examination, or failure to provide proper and timely documentation of any requirement, results in a loss of Board Certification.
Dr. Mele is Double Board Certified
Dr. Mele completed two residencies. The first was a five year General Surgery Residency at The University of California Davis, in Sacramento, CA and San Joaquin General Hospital in Stockton, CA. The second was a three year Plastic Surgery Fellowship at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco, CA. Since he completed two residencies, Dr. Mele is qualified to maintain two Board Certifications with two independent ABMS Boards: The American Board of Plastic Surgery and The American Board of Surgery. The American Board of Plastic Surgery, as mentioned above, is the official ABMS Board that certifies physicians specializing in Plastic Surgery, while the American Board of Surgery certifies all General Surgeons.
Maintaining Board Certification takes time, effort and resources. Maintaining two board certifications doubles the work, but this is just one of the ways that Dr. Mele demonstrates his commitment to his patients and to the discipline of Plastic Surgery. If you want more details about Dr. Mele's training and Board Certification, in his own words, check out his San Francisco Plastic Surgery Blog entry: Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
Here's How To Check Your Plastic Surgeon's Qualifications
Below are some important links that you can use to check any physician's Board Certification and Medical License. You owe it to yourself to do the research and check your plastic surgeon before having any procedure. The Internet makes it simple, and the following links make it easy. Just click on what you want to do:
- Check if your doctor is Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
- Check if your doctor is Board Certified by another American Board of Medical Specialties board. You will need to register to use this site, but it is safe, free and fast.
- Check if your doctor has an unrestricted California Medical License. Check the box next to "Physician and Surgeon", under "Choose a license type", and choose how you would like to search.
- If you are not in California, the Federation of State Medical Boards maintains a list of United States Medical Boards. Click here for the Directory of State Medical and Osteopathic Boards.