The prime purpose of the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) is to evaluate and pass judgment on the training and knowledge of broadly competent and responsible plastic surgeons. The ABPS establishes the prerequisite requirements for those desiring training in plastic surgery and sets the standards for graduate education in the plastic surgery specialty. The ABPS conducts qualifying written and oral exams for certification.


Established in 1937. Officially recognized in 1941 as the board responsible for certifying physicians in the specialty of plastic surgery by action of the American Board of Medical Specialties and as approved by the Council on Medical Education of the American Medical Association.

Education Requirements

There are two major paths toward obtaining acceptable graduate level training in plastic surgery: the Independent Model and the Integrated Model.

  • An Independent Model consists of at least three years of general surgery residency training (or complete training in a designated surgical discipline), followed by two or three years of plastic surgery residency training.
  • An Integrated Model does not make a distinction between prerequisite training (general surgery) and requisite training (plastic surgery), as the two are combined into one training model.

Content of Training

Training covers the entire spectrum of plastic surgery including reconstructive and cosmetic surgery of the face and body. In addition, plastic surgery training programs provide in-depth education in emergencies, shock, wound healing, blood replacement, fluid and electrolyte balance, pharmacology, anesthetics, and chemotherapy.

For more information, click here to visit the The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) website.

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