While some people trivialize a procedure such as labiaplasty or vaginaplasty, it is a major event in your life and should be approached seriously and with sobriety. You must, for instance, be sure to research a surgeon’s qualifications before you select him or her to perform this procedure. What does “research” mean?
The best resource on researching your doctor’s qualifications is the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the Board of Plastic and Reconstructive surgery. There you can find out about the doctor’s qualifications. These agencies are the most important agencies in evaluating doctors in plastic surgery. Equally important if you choose a gynecologist to do any procedures the board of gynecology is another resource to consult.
The agency which oversees sub-specialty medical boards.is the ABMS (or American Board of Medical Specialists). The sub-board within the ABMS that is of interest to you is the ABPS, or the American Board of Plastic Surgery. It’s the board that oversees certification and training of plastic surgeons–and usually plastic surgeons perform vaginaplasty and labiaplasty.
Armed with this information, it’s a simply matter to call ABMS to find out if your chosen doctor is certified through their sub-board, ABPS. Their toll-free number is 800-776-2378. All you need to remember when you call them is to say “I’d like to find out if my plastic surgeon is board certified in plastic and reconstructive surgery.” If not, look for another surgeon. Even if the doctor has “Board Certified” by his name on his wall or business card, there are other, less-stringent “boards” that certify. This is the only board that you should trust to give you the correct information. It is important that you do not allow anyone to work on you who is not certified through ABMS / ABPS.
Let’s get specific: There are many confusing and self appointed societies which give certificates that sound like the doctor is board certified as a plastic surgeon. Not all of them are reliable and not all of them have the same stringent requirements that only admit the best of the best. For example the Cosmetic Plastic Surgery board gives certificates but not all doctors who get certified by that organization are indeed plastic surgeons and the criteria are very loose. Many Dermatologists are certified by “cosmetic boards” but they would not be qualified to perform labiaplasty as they would not have the training and experience in surgery to perform these procedures well; In summary all boards that are not the plastic surgery board have much lower standards of certifying than the standards set by the ABMS. All doctors know that the agency which sets the standard in the field is ABPS–and if any doctor cannot meet the standard to receive certification from that board, then you don’t want to take the risk. Helen S. Colen MD