Receiving positive results and staying healthy during and after surgery depends on choosing a knowledgeable and experienced physician. In our previous blog post, we talked about the mandatory credentials for all physicians and the specific requirements that are necessary for board-certified plastic surgeons.   So, how do you find this information for yourself? Thankfully, there are resources out there to provide you with important details about physicians, including plastic surgeons.   The best places to start your research are the websites available to the public to check physician’s credentials and background information. This information can help you verify that the medical professional you are seeing has the appropriate training and certifications required for their medical specialty.   To protect patients and promote research and education, the Federation of State Medical Boards has a database of information that lists all licensed physicians and their qualifications. Each physician’s page includes their education, training, medical license, and board certification(s), as well as any existing disciplinary or legal actions against them.   All states also have similar databases that provide information about physicians who legally practice there. Through the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation, physicians are licensed to work in South Carolina, and you can search for these licenses and other needed credentials on their website.   You can also check a surgeon’s credentials through the medical boards they are a part of if they specialize in a particular medical field. For plastic surgeons, you can check this information through the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS).   The organizations that oversee Member Boards like the ABPS also have resources to help you check physicians’ credentials. The American Board of Medical Specialties works to maintain the high standards of specialty certification organizations and promotes the importance of checking your physician’s background by providing this information to the public.   Along with these specific medical boards, a physician can also become a member of professional societies, such as the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). Their Patient Safety program provides essential information about cosmetic and reconstructive procedures and explains the importance of picking a qualified and board-certified plastic surgeon.   The Connect program provides comprehensive details about each ASPS member surgeon. Along with credentials and background, their online search tool also provides information about their surgical specialties and payment options.   Along with these official resources, there are also doctor rating websites that allow patients to provide feedback about their experiences with physicians. While these websites might provide useful recommendations, it is important to remember that they are based more on opinion than data.   Another part of a physician’s background that we talked about before is any legal or disciplinary actions that have been brought against them. This information is often available on the websites of the medical boards and organizations we already discussed, but this information is not always extensively detailed and up to date.   In-depth reports can be found easily by doing a web search or visiting the website of the court system in your area to find any past or present legal action in which they were involved.   However, keep in mind that all doctors have a high risk of litigation. In the United States, tens of thousands of lawsuits are filed involving physicians each year. Examining these cases carefully will help you come to an informed conclusion about the quality and character of a plastic surgeon and their practice.   When doing this research, it is important to use these resources wisely and always cross-reference the information you find to make sure it is valid, complete, and fair. We all want positive experiences and dependable results from plastic surgery procedures, and with these online tools, you can find a physician whom you can trust will provide excellent care.   - Emily Lanter