What Does Double Board Certification Mean?

Dr. Pane explains the process of board certification and what it means in terms of patient care.

The Question

Medical terminology can often be confusing and even impenetrable to the layperson. One example of this is the deceptively simple term, “Board certification.” Many patients seem to be under the impression that this is just a marketing term, but it’s a great deal more involved and important than that. A patient on Facebook asked, “What does double board certification actually mean?” Dr. Pane was pleased to take this question, because he carries certification from two different medical boards and knows the importance of working with a qualified, certified physician for your cosmetic surgery needs.

The Answer

The practice of board certification began in the 1930s, as physicians became more specialized and patients became warier of “quack” doctors who either weren’t doctors at all, or who were working well out of their usual fields with varying degrees of success. Board certification requires physicians to demonstrate extensive theoretical and practical knowledge in a narrowly focused area of study which goes well beyond the generalist approach common to residency. This in turn demands additional years of both classroom study and hands-on experience beyond what is expected of a general practitioner, to demonstrate the physician has mastered a body of material specific to their field.

Cosmetic surgery initially began as a way to correct scars and wounds left by disease, accidents, war wounds or lifesaving procedures such as mastectomy. Over time, the field of plastic surgery has veered much more to the vanity side than the corrective side, although corrective cosmetic surgery is still quite common. However, many physicians take on cosmetic surgery as a sort of sideline to their typical fields, again with decidedly mixed results.

This is by no means to say that a surgeon who is not board certified does not know what they are doing! There are some very good, and very successful, cosmetic surgeons who are not board certified and yet are quite capable and yield excellent results. However, board certification is helpful because it shows the surgeon has sufficient interest in the field to feel the time, effort and expense of voluntarily testing and demonstrating their skills before a panel of their peers is justified. In addition, board certification requires continuing education and recertification that goes well beyond what is expected of their more generalist compatriots.

Dr. Thomas A. Pane, Atlantic Coast Aesthetics’ founder and Chief Medical Officer, began his medical career in general surgery, working on all sorts of patients with all sorts of issues, maladies and wounds. He was drawn to cases which were more difficult and unusual, assisting with and presiding over a number of surgeries which would tax the skills and nerves of other physicians. This interest evolved into a curiosity about cosmetic surgery, especially after helping a number of patients who had undergone cosmetic procedures elsewhere and were dissatisfied with the outcomes for whatever reason.

This passion for tackling difficult cases led Dr. Pane to seek out board certification in general surgery and then on to a residency in plastic surgery. It was here that he found his true passion, although he still keeps his hand in general surgery and is often consulted by other physicians on unique, puzzling or complex medical cases. After his residency in cosmetic surgery, he chose to sit for board certification in this field as well. Only 15.5% of all practicing physicians in the US in 2014 held double board certification, making this distinction one which is both uncommon and highly sought after.

The advantage of double board certification from the patient perspective is that Dr. Pane is extremely meticulous about tracking his patients’ complication rates against published and anticipated rates in the prevailing literature. Over time, he reports a complication rate nine times LESS than the predicted and expected rates, and of these complications, less than 1% are anything more than very minor and easily corrected issues. These numbers demonstrate why having a double board-certified surgeon managing your cosmetic surgery helps ensure more successful outcomes and better results with less chance of complications. Dr. Pane strongly urges patients who are seeking a qualified cosmetic surgeon to ask about the surgeon’s background, education and any board certifications they carry before undergoing cosmetic procedures for their own safety, comfort and peace of mind.

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If you have a question about anything related to plastic surgery, or if you’d like to know more about how double board certification can help ensure you get the results you want, Dr. Pane and the staff of ACA are always happy to make time for your questions. Just give us a call at (561) 422-4116, follow us on Twitter and Facebook or email us at http://acplasticsurg.com. Your question may even become the topic of our next Ask Dr. Pane segment, answered live on the air by Dr. Pane himself. Remember, at ACA we believe the only bad question is the one you don’t ask!



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