American Board of Plastic Surgery

Seven Penn Center, Suite 400
1635 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2204
Phone: (215) 587-9322

Plastic Surgery

A plastic surgeon deals with the repair, reconstruction or replacement of physical defects of form or function involving the skin, musculoskeletal system, craniomaxillofacial structures, hand, extremities, breast and trunk and external genitalia or cosmetic enhancement of these areas of the body. Cosmetic surgery is an essential component of plastic surgery. The plastic surgeon uses cosmetic surgical principles to both improve overall appearance and to optimize the outcome of reconstructive procedures.

Training required prior to initial board certification

Six (6) to eight (8) years

Board eligible period (+practice requirement)

Seven (+1) years


Certification in one of the following subspecialties requires additional training and assessment as specified by the board.

Plastic Surgery Within the Head and Neck

A plastic surgeon trained in this area has additional expertise in plastic and reconstructive procedures within the head, face, neck and associated structures, including head and neck cancer and reconstruction, management of maxillofacial trauma, soft tissue repair and neural surgery. Plastic surgeons also provide all aspects of head, neck and facial aesthetic surgery.

Surgery of the Hand 

A Surgeon trained in Surgery of the Hand has expertise in the surgical, medical and rehabilitative care of patients with diseases, injuries, and disorders affecting the hand, wrist and forearm. Common conditions treated by a hand surgeon include carpal tunnel syndrome, trigger fingers, ganglia (lumps), sports injuries to the hand and wrist, and hand injuries involving fractures, dislocations, lacerated tendons, nerves and arteries. Hand Surgeons may be general surgeons, orthopedic surgeons or plastic surgeons who have received additional training in this area.

Lifelong learning requirements

  • Complete 125 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ submitted in years 6 and 9 of the 10-year cycle:
    • 125 Category 1 CME Credits required – may be Plastic Surgery or general
    • 125 Plastic Surgery CME Credits – may be Category I or II
    • 25 Patient Safety CME Credits – may be Category 1 or II