Jan. 9, 2012
Letters to the Editor
The Chicago Tribune
435 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
Fully licensed physicians who receive comprehensive medical training, like osteopathic physicians (DOs) and MDs, are the best equipped to perform plastic and reconstructive surgery procedures (“Patients’ plastic surgery research shouldn’t be skin-deep, experts warn,” Dec. 28). Physicians who are board certified complete additional training in a specialty area and pass a rigorous exam to assess their knowledge, skills and experience—the components physicians need to provide quality patient care in a specific specialty. Additional training in plastic surgery not only qualifies physicians to perform these types of procedures but also gives them the ability to treat any complications that may arise, something non-physicians would not be equipped to do.
In addition to the American Board of Plastic Surgery, people also can check if their physician is certified by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA). An osteopathic physician may become certified in plastic and reconstructive surgery upon recommendation from the American Osteopathic Board of Surgery, which typically requires four years of accredited residency training in general surgery and two in plastic surgery, as well as passage of a rigorous board exam. DOs, like MDs, are fully licensed physicians who can prescribe medication and practice in any specialty area, including surgery.
By 2013, AOA board-certified DOs will be required to maintain osteopathic continuous certification (OCC) through ongoing practice assessment and performance improvement. Rather than being a punitive measure, OCC, along with the American Board of Medical Specialties’ maintenance of certification process, will provide public confidence and more transparency for a physician’s practice. Implementing a continuous certification program is a testament to the AOA’s commitment to helping DOs meet and exceed industry and regulatory standards.
Martin S. Levine, DO
American Osteopathic Association