9 Facts About ABCS Surgeons

The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery prides itself on setting the highest standards for surgeons in the specialty of cosmetic surgery. After you read through what it takes for a physician to become board certified by the ABCS, you’ll see why choosing an ABCS surgeon means you’re choosing a genuine cosmetic surgery specialist.

1. ABCS is the only certifying board that tests a surgeon’s knowledge and experience exclusively in cosmetic surgery.

No other board certification guarantees a surgeon has received training in all aspects of cosmetic surgery. Learn why this matters.

2. Our surgeons have completed a 1-2 year fellowship, where they have trained exclusively in cosmetic surgery & patient care.

This is on top of graduation from an accredited medical school (M.D. or D.O.) and additional residency training. See our approved fellowship criteria.

3. To achieve ABCS board certification, a surgeon must:

  • Spend a full year training exclusively and comprehensively in cosmetic surgery
  • Perform a minimum of 300 individual cosmetic surgery procedures of the face, breast and body (recommended minimum requirement for plastic surgery residencies is only 150 cases)
  • Receive additional in-depth training in non-surgical cosmetic procedures, including Botox & fillers, laser resurfacing, and skin care (plastic surgery residencies currently have no training requirements for these treatments)
  • Perform and document an additional minimum set of cosmetic procedures following completion of 1-year fellowship
  • Pass a comprehensive, rigorous 2-day oral and written exam covering all aspects of cosmetic surgery

4. Our surgeons only operate in accredited hospitals and surgical centers.

Facilities meet the highest standards for safety, sanitation, and preparedness. Learn more about facility accreditation.

5. Our surgeons are double board certified.

In addition to their ABCS board certification in cosmetic surgery, surgeons must already be board certified in one of 7 medical specialties related to cosmetic surgery before they can take the ABCS exam. The certifying board must be recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) or the equivalent from the American Osteopathic Association or American Board of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery. Click here to see detailed ABCS certification requirements.

6. Our surgeons have been carefully screened to ensure the highest level of patient safety, ethical practice, and outstanding moral character.

No one with a history of substance abuse, criminal activity, or a restricted medical license can become an ABCS surgeon. Read about our code of ethics.

7. ABCS certified surgeons are re-examined every 10 years.

To maintain board certification, diplomates certified in 1998 and after must pass a comprehensive written exam, complete 150 hours of continuing medical education, and demonstrate a high level of patient satisfaction based on surveys.

8. Select ABCS surgeons earn a Certificate of Added Qualification, distinguishing them as specialists in Facial Cosmetic Surgery or Breast, Body & Extremity Cosmetic Surgery.

To earn a Certificate of Added Qualification (CAQ), a surgeon must:

  • Be a current ABCS Diplomate
  • Complete an additional 100+ cases in his or her area of specialty
  • Complete 100 hours of continuing medical education
  • Pass a second oral examination

9. Only surgeons who commit to achieving this level of excellence in cosmetic surgery will qualify to sit for the ABCS examination.

We believe board certification should be awarded to physicians who have demonstrated an exceptional level of training and experience in their specialties, not just those who have met minimum standards. With an ABCS surgeon, you know you’re in the hands of an elite cosmetic surgery specialist.