Board certification is considered a minimum standard when looking for a plastic surgeon to perform your procedure. It assures you, the patient, that the doctor has graduated from an accredited medical school and, after medical school, completed an approved residency program of at least three years and passed a certifying exam. Board certification does not guarantee a great surgeon, but it is at least an indication that the surgeon has been appropriately trained for his specialty.
You can check on a surgeon's board certification by contacting the ABMS (American Board of Medical Specialists) at 866-ASK-ABMS or by visiting www.ABMS.org.
While most people know to look for board-certified surgeons, many are still not aware that there have been an increasing number of “bogus boards” launched that masquerade as legitimately recognized boards. California was one of the first states to pass legislation requiring that if a doctor advertises as “board-certified,” their advertising must specific which board is providing the certification. California initiated this legislation to protect the unassuming public from doctors and surgeons trying to perform cosmetic procedures without certification recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties.