Sorry, its a Myth! There has been great discussion regarding the Board Certification of Aesthetic Medicine. Currently, the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) does not offer board certification in Aesthetic Medicine. The ABMS currently states that “antiaging is not a medical specialty,” and therefore no association or organization can officially be offering “board certification” in aesthetic medicine at this time.
Therefore any private company, private company owned association or aesthetic association that offers “Board Certification” does so without the endorsement of the ABMS. “Physicians like to be board certified like they are in their own medical specialty however since the ABMS doesn’t offer Board Certification, many companies have decided to create their own. This is not the same board certification as in Family Medicine, Dermatology, Emergency Medicine or any other recognized board certification, this is just a made-up one,” says IAPAM Executive-Director Jeff Russell. “We often hear from physicians who have to spend thousands of dollars on obtaining these aesthetic medicine board certifications only to find out they aren’t recognized by anyone, it is very disappointing to them to say the least,” continues Russell.
More about ABMS
The ABMS is a non-profit organization empowered to regulate the certification of medical specialties. Before the formation of the ABMS, a physician could advertise that he/she was a specialist in any medical arena. However, since its establishment, the ABMS “certification” is the gold standard for medical training and examinations, thereby ensuring a pre-eminent level of education, ethics and care across multiple medical specialties.
The ABMS clearly states that its mission is “to communicate to external stakeholders that ‘board certification’ is the major marker of quality for physicians’ performance and that the ABMS is recognized as the organization that establishes these standards and criteria.” That said, the ABMS also states that “anti-aging is not yet considered a medical specialty”, akin to plastic surgery or dermatology, and therefore, at this time, the ABMS does not offer a “board certification” in aesthetic medicine.
To fill this void, the IAPAM (International Association for Physicians in Aesthetic Medicine) offers the discipline’s most comprehensive education and credentialing towards certification in Aesthetic Medicine for physicians entering or practicing in this burgeoning field. The IAPAM’s educational programs are quarterbacked by a fully accredited faculty, including two board-certified dermatologists, who are experts in cosmetic injectables, botox training and aesthetic medicine treatments. However, as the ABMS does not currently offer “board certification” in aesthetic medicine, the IAPAM is respectful that it too cannot offer “board certification” in aesthetic medicine. Instead, the IAPAM continues to offer the industry’s best clinical, hands-on, aesthetic medicine training in the most advanced skincare procedures.
Training in Aesthetic Medicine
In recent years, aesthetic medicine has become a popular and often sought after field that delves into the intricate and exciting world of cosmetics. We all love to look and stay younger, and the current trend of celebrity beauty and ‘younger looking skin’ has instilled in people the need to go out and undergo procedures or purchase products that will do just that.
But offering aesthetic medical procedures requires a degree of skill and expertise. It’s not just as simple as a one day course, but requires specific training in various aspects of the human anatomy and pharmacology (just to name a few), and should be taught by physicians who are board-certified in associated modalities such as dermatology.
To date, anti-ageing treatments are not recognized as a medical specialty. However, these days, stricter regulations and potential legal action mean that expert training and certification has become essential.
Obtaining certification requires undergoing a course that is often divided into different groups. Lectures are detailed and cover different topics such as dermal fillers, botulinum toxin A and laser treatments. In addition, demonstrations will be conducted and candidates will obtain hands-on experience. While this will offer the trainees an idea of what the treatments involve, the side effects and the potential applications, it does not replace long term experience obtained with continued practice. Be that as it may, this course will give every trainee a solid ground to stand on when they add the procedures to their practice.
There are additional courses that are available in aesthetic medicine, and these tend to be a lot more advanced. It depends on what exactly the trainee is looking for. Advanced training towards certification often involves numerous lectures, advanced techniques such as sclerotherapy and other cosmetic techniques. These programs result in trainees being awarded a certification or diploma in aesthetic medicine.
It is fairly obvious – being trained by experts is the cornerstone to valid certification in aesthetic medicine, and such training programs not only arm the physician with the required skills, but it also instills in the patient confidence that their aesthetic practitioner ‘knows what they are doing’. The process is stringent and can be stressful, but it is well worth having it as one of your many qualifications.
Ultimately, the IAPAM has developed the responsible guiding principle that it cannot offer “board certification” in aesthetic medicine until such certification is recognized along with the other 24 medical specialties currently acknowledged by the ABMS.
Therefore, until that time when aesthetic medicine is considered a medical specialty by the ABMS, the bottom line for practitioners and patients alike is: whether engaging a “board-certified” surgeon, or a peer-trained physician, patients must complete their due diligence by researching both the practitioner and the treatment, asking the doctor and others for referrals, and ensuring that they feel completely comfortable before undergoing any procedure.