Many prospective patients do not know that in most states, a licensed physician may perform plastic surgery without being board-certified in plastic surgery. This means if you don’t do your homework, your surgery could be performed by a doctor with no formal training in the field of plastic surgery.

You hear it all the time, “Make sure your plastic surgeon is board certified.” But what does this mean exactly? It’s not enough to simply ask if the doctor is board certified. They could answer “yes,” but their certification could actually be in a medical field unrelated to plastic surgery. You wouldn’t want a dentist or gynecologist or dermatologist performing your facelift, would you? You must ask “Are you board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?”

The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS)

The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) is a non-profit, independent organization and the only one approved by the American Board of Medical Specialties to certify plastic surgeons to perform plastic surgery of the face and body. The goal of the ABPS is to promote safe, ethical, efficacious plastic surgery to the public. They maintain a high set of standards for education, examination, certification and re-certification of plastic surgeons as specialists. By choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon, you can be assured the doctor has graduated from an accredited medical school and has completed at least five years of additional training as a resident surgeon in an accredited program.

Important Society Memberships

In addition to the above board-certification, it is also important your plastic surgeon is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and for plastic surgeons who perform cosmetic surgery to be a member of the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Credentials can be checked online at and

Membership in these societies ensures you are being treated by a plastic surgeon who has met the additional requirements necessary to be classified as a specialist in plastic surgery or cosmetic surgery. In addition, ASPS is a strong advocate for patient safety and requires its members to operate in accredited surgical facilities that have passed rigorous external review of equipment and staffing.

We Are Certified & Members of Both Societies

Both Dr. Nichter and Dr. Horowitz are board-certified through the American Board of Plastic Surgery and are members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the Orange County Society of Plastic Surgeons, and Fellow American College of Surgeons.