Blog Featured Image: MD, FACS, DO: Defining Medical Titles and Training Designation

MD, FACS, DO: Defining Medical Titles and Training Designation

Looking for a plastic surgeon or medical professional for cosmetic procedures can be daunting, with all the confusing titles and credentials. But it’s crucial to understand what these qualifications mean when entrusting someone with your body and well-being.

And while degrees are essential, board certification and additional training are key indicators of a doctor’s expertise in a specific area like plastic surgery.

This blog post aims to demystify some standard medical titles — MD, FACS, and DO — to help you make an informed choice for your cosmetic needs.

The Doctor of Medicine (MD) is the most widely recognized medical degree in the United States.

It signifies that the doctor has completed a rigorous educational journey, including four years of undergraduate study and four years of medical school training.

To become an MD, students must complete a bachelor’s degree program, often in a science-related field like biology or chemistry. They then proceed to an accredited medical school, where they spend four years in coursework covering anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and clinical practice.

After graduating from medical school, aspiring MDs must complete a residency program in their chosen specialty. This hands-on training can last three to seven years, depending on the field of study. During this time, they work under the supervision of experienced physicians, gaining invaluable practical experience.

While earning an MD is a significant accomplishment, many doctors take the additional step of becoming board-certified.

Board certification is overseen by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and its member boards, which rigorously evaluate a physician’s knowledge, skills, and experience.

MDs can specialize in various fields, from primary care to highly specialized surgical disciplines.

Some popular specialties for cosmetic procedures include plastic surgery and facial plastic surgery. However, the only Board Certification in Plastic Surgery is the American Board of Plastic Surgery.  

Regardless of their specialty, board-certified MDs have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in their chosen area of medicine.

While the Doctor of Medicine (MD) is the most widely recognized medical degree, there is an alternative path to becoming a physician: the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree.

Despite their distinct philosophical approach, DOs can pursue the same specialties as MDs, including surgical fields like plastic surgery. Many DOs choose primary care practice, leveraging their holistic perspective to promote overall well-being and disease prevention.

Regardless of their specialization, DOs are fully licensed physicians with the same rights and responsibilities as MDs, including the ability to perform surgery, prescribe medication, and provide comprehensive medical care.

DOs undergo a rigorous educational journey like their MD counterparts, including four years of medical school followed by residency training in their chosen specialty. They also can become board-certified in various medical fields, much like MDs.  But their Board certification training is through the college of Osteopathic Medicine rather than conventional residency programs.

However, in addition to conventional medical training, DO programs strongly emphasize osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM). This holistic approach focuses on the interconnectedness of the body’s systems and the use of hands-on techniques to diagnose and treat patients.

MDs and DOs are highly qualified medical professionals with extensive training and education.

While MDs generally take a more targeted approach to treating specific symptoms or conditions, DOs bring a unique, whole-body perspective to patient care.

Ultimately, both paths lead to capable, licensed physicians dedicated to improving their patients’ health and well-being.

While medical degrees like MD and DO signify a physician’s core training, some go above and beyond to attain additional accolades that denote specialized expertise.

One such designation is the prestigious “Fellow of the American College of Surgeons” (FACS). FACS is not a medical degree but a fellowship awarded to surgeons who have met the American College of Surgeons (ACS) standards. It represents a surgeon’s commitment to ethical practice, professional excellence, and continued education in their field.

Attaining the FACS designation is no small feat. It signifies that a surgeon has not only met the highest education and training standards but has also demonstrated a long-standing commitment to surgical excellence and patient care.

For patients considering cosmetic procedures like body contouring or facial rejuvenation, choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon who is also a FACS can provide an extra layer of assurance regarding their skill, expertise, and ethical practices.

To become a FACS, a surgeon must first be board-certified in their specialty by a recognized certifying board, such as the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) for cosmetic surgeons. They must also have extensive surgical experience and an active practice focused on their chosen specialty.

Beyond these initial qualifications, candidates undergo a rigorous evaluation process by the ACS, which examines their surgical competence, ethical conduct, and dedication to ongoing professional development through activities like teaching, research, and attending educational programs.

Choosing a qualified and reputable doctor is essential in cosmetic procedures. Here are some tips to help you verify a doctor’s credentials and training:

Check if your chosen doctor is licensed to practice medicine in your state by visiting your state’s medical board website. Ensure they are board-certified by the appropriate specialty board, such as the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) for cosmetic surgeons.

Board certification signifies a doctor has met rigorous education, training, and examination standards.

Reputable doctors often belong to professional societies like the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) or the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS).

Membership in these organizations indicates a commitment to ongoing education and adherence to safety standards.

Visit the doctor’s website for their education, training, and certifications.

Read patient reviews and testimonials, but also consider the source and potential biases.

Ensure the doctor has surgical privileges at an accredited hospital or surgical facility. This is a requirement for ABPS certification and ensures the doctor meets quality standards.

For cosmetic procedures, look for doctors who have completed fellowships or have extensive experience in that area. Not all plastic surgeons perform every procedure equally well, so expertise matters.

Researching a doctor’s credentials and training thoroughly helps you make an informed decision and feel confident in choosing a provider for your cosmetic needs.

Selecting a suitable plastic surgeon is an important decision that can greatly impact your cosmetic journey and overall satisfaction.

While credentials and certifications are essential, there are several other factors to consider when making this choice.

Look closely at the surgeon’s portfolio of before-and-after photos and patient testimonials. These can provide valuable insights into their artistic style and the quality of their work.

Additionally, consider their specific experience and expertise in the procedure you’re interested in. A surgeon who frequently performs your desired operation may be better equipped to deliver exceptional results.

The facility where your procedure will take place should be accredited and meet the highest safety and patient care standards.

Look for certifications from reputable organizations, such as the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) or the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAASF).

Finding a surgeon you can trust and communicate with openly is essential.

During consultations, pay attention to how well they listen to your concerns, explain the process, and manage your expectations.

A good rapport can make the entire experience more comfortable and ensure you’re on the same page regarding your aesthetic goals.

While it’s natural to want a surgeon who instills confidence, be wary of those who make unrealistic promises or fail to address potential risks and limitations.

The best surgeons will provide honest, straightforward guidance and help you understand what to expect realistically.

Remember, choosing the right plastic surgeon is a personal decision that requires careful consideration. Take your time, research, and feel free to seek second opinions until you find the perfect fit for your needs and goals.

Understanding medical credentials and qualifications can be daunting, but knowing what to look for is crucial when entrusting your body to a surgeon.

From MDs and DOs to the prestigious FACS fellowship, these designations signify expertise and commitment to excellence that safeguards your well-being during cosmetic procedures.

At The Aesthetic Centers, our highly trained, board-certified Plastic Surgeons uphold the highest standards.

Schedule a consultation so you can meet us in person, discuss your goals, and experience firsthand the level of care and professionalism we provide.

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