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Steven J. Pearlman, MD, FACS Dual Board Certified in Facial Plastic Surgery

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Choosing a Plastic Surgeon

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board certified facial plastic surgeon nyThere are many ways to find a qualified doctor for facial plastic surgery. First and foremost, you should research a doctor who specializes in the area in which you seek surgery or treatment. For the face, your best bet is to trust your face to a specialist. There are a number of specialties that certify doctors to perform cosmetic surgery on the face, however, the training is not equal. Most Facial Plastic Surgeons are fellows of the AAFPRS (American Academy of Facial and Reconstructive Surgery); surgeons like Dr. Pearlman take responsibility beyond fellowships and have become board certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Board certification as a facial plastic surgeon is yet another assurance that your surgeon is top of the line.

Additionally, there are a number of credentials that a doctor should have in order to perform facial plastic surgery, and there are a number of specialties within the field. Knowing which one(s) your doctor specializes in will help you to make an educated decision. Of course, if you desire breast surgery or body liposuction, you would seek out a plastic surgeon who spent years training in this specialty, yet this same doctor might not be the right person to fix your nose or perform a facelift. Board certification is an important first criterion. The lists of cosmetic specialists include Facial Plastic Surgeons, Plastic Surgeons, Oculoplastic Surgeons and Dermatologic Surgeons. Each has rigorous training and certification. However, even among these specialties training varies by type and areas of concentration and expertise.

Seeking out a specialist for you can be daunting given the myriad of websites, lists and both solo and group marketing websites. Going to the website of a recognized board for the area of care you desire is a good first step. To help find a surgeon in your area, or for more information on facial plastic surgery, you can contact the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ABFPRS), which qualifies facial plastic surgeons as well as the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS).

Dual board certification, for doctors like Dr. Pearlman, gives further significance to their training. Having started in Otolaryngology (Ear Nose and Throat) and board certification by The American Board of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck (ABO) Surgery, Dr. Pearlman has extensive training in the anatomy and physiology of the head and neck which provided a strong foundation for his further training in facial plastic surgery. The ABO is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) to qualify Facial Plastic Surgeons. The third qualification that should be sought in a surgeon is fellowship training, beyond residency. Dr. Pearlman spent a year with a renowned Facial Plastic Surgeon in a fellowship accredited by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery to further his education prior to going into practice.

Recognition by one’s peers is the fourth criteria for a qualified doctor. Elected positions, such as President of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Remonstrate surgery and president of the New York Facial Plastic surgery society demonstrates the leadership, skill and teaching ability recognized by others in the same specialty. Dr. Pearlman is widely respected among his peer doctors.

Meeting The Doctor

Once you find a doctor whose credentials you are satisfied with, you should meet with him or her to see if you are comfortable and if the relationship is a fit. The doctor should be able to explain procedures to your satisfaction, and instill confidence in you. You may wish to inquire into their status within the community, hospital and/or special societies. It is important to ask what the doctor’s area of expertise is. For patients seeking facial plastic surgery, does the doctor specialize in the face? Lastly, ask to see examples of the doctor’s work. An informed patient is a happy patient.

Trust Your Face to a Facial Plastic Surgeon

Just because a doctor did an excellent job on one part of your body, does not necessarily mean he or she is the right choice for another. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor what his or her specialty is and what percentage of their practice is devoted to plastic surgery of the face. Your doctor may be a superb surgeon for non-facial surgical procedures, such as breast augmentation, liposuction, and hand surgery, but this does not qualify him as a facial surgeon.

Board Certification

Diplomats of the ABFPRS have to meet high standards through a rigorous program of examination and certification. The ABFPRS has been found equivalent to American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) in every state that has standards for such equivalence. The American Board of Otolaryngology also includes extensive training in facial plastic surgery and is recognized to qualify Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeons by the ABMS.

The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) is the world’s largest specialty association that represents facial plastic and reconstructive surgeons throughout the world. The AAFPRS is a National Medical Specialty Society recognized by the American Medical Association (AMA). AAFPRS members are board certified surgeons whose focus is surgery of the face, head, and neck. AAFPRS members subscribe to a strict code of ethics.

A facial plastic surgeon, such as Dr. Pearlman, limits their practice to the face, head and neck, and is certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. His background in otolaryngology gives him extensive knowledge of the face and its underlying structures.

To be certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, a surgeon must:

  • Complete an accredited residency-training program after medical school that provides training in facial plastic surgery.
  • Receive certification by the American Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery or the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
  • Successfully complete an additional two-day examination focused solely on facial plastic and reconstructive surgery.
  • Present at least 100 surgical cases in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery for peer review during each of the two years prior to qualifying to take the certifying examination.
  • To find a qualified facial plastic surgeon that is right for you, you may want to consult your family doctor, local aesthetician, or even your hair stylist. The best referral is from someone who is a satisfied patient. There are certain critical facts about the doctor and practice that you should know before undergoing any surgical procedure, such as, how often do they perform the procedure in question.

If you are having surgery in an office based facility, please make sure it is accredited.

One of the most important things we do to earn your trust is to voluntarily participate in the quality assessment program of the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC). Our office and operating room are accredited by the AAAHC, officially recognizing us for delivering excellent health care services to our patients. AAAHC is one of three national organizations recognized to provide certification. The AAAHC only accredits facilities that are committed to providing high-quality medical care and services. It is our way of demonstrating our commitment to providing the best care possible.

What is Otolaryngology?

In the Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery residency, the physician studies anatomy, physiology, illness and treatment for head and neck diseases, of children and adults.

Otolaryngology training includes the following:

Rhinology, the subspecialty focused on the nose. The resident learns the internal working of the nose both for breathing and for sinus function. Throughout this period the resident also studies facial plastic and reconstructive surgery.

Head and Neck surgery, the comprehensive surgical care for tumors of the head and neck. This training gives the surgeon intimate knowledge of the deep structures, muscles, and nerves of the head and neck. This background provides and excellent foundation for reconstructive and cosmetic surgery of the face, head and neck.

After successfully completing this residency, some surgeons, including Dr. Pearlman, decide to bolster their training by participating in the Facial Plastic Surgery Fellowship, a full-year program in which participants study with one of the AAFPRS’s master surgeon.

This training in the primary surgical specialty of otolaryngology/head-and-neck surgery represents the typical five-year training after graduation from medical school. Some facial plastic surgeons, such as Dr. Pearlman, go on to further enhance their training by participating in the Facial Plastic Surgery Fellowship Program.

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