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  • Writer's pictureDr. Jean-Paul Azzi

A Brief History – The American Board of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery

Behind the meaning of “Board Certified” Facial Plastic Surgeon

Many facial plastic and reconstructive surgeons like Palm Beach’s own Doctor Jean-Paul Azzi promote the fact that they are board certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Very few patients, however, understand what the ABFPRS is or what it does. Here’s a brief history.

While the ABFPRS was founded in 1986 with intentions of improving the quality of medical and surgical treatment available to the public, there is over 100 years of story to be told. In the 1800s, a few men began to explore and test a new type of surgical phenomenon that included reconstructive and “functional repairs” that helped improve appearance. By working together, evaluating each other and collaborating on different surgeries these men were able to rapidly improve each procedure and expound on the types of surgeries they could perform.

Doctors like Jacques Joseph (1865 – 1934), pioneered facial plastic surgery and was even director of the Division of Facial Plastic Surgery at the Charity Hospital in Berlin during World War I. Doctors like Dr. Joseph gained loyal followers who were hyper interested in understanding these newer types of medical procedures. The fans behind doctors like Dr. Joseph became so large that they ended up merging together to create the Autonomous Professional Society Representing the Specialty of Facial Plastic Surgery, or AAFPRS, in 1964. During this time, however, plastic surgery still was not recognized as a medical specialty. This is why the US Surgeon General’s plastic surgery service was staffed by an orthopedic surgeon and a general surgeon.

With plastic surgery gaining in popularity the AAFPRS began to shape an education program around the 1970’s. This was in an effort to socialize plastic surgery as a part of the medical community. It was also around this time that the AAFPRS began to approach other medical societies for recognition and certification. Years went by as the exploration of all traditional means of achieving some kind of certification or sub-certification yielded no results.

Proceeding independently, it was decided to turn to the ABFPRS which had been examining only surgeons completing AAFPRS Foundation fellowships since it was incorporated in 1986. In 1989, the ABFPRS expanded the examination process to a fully credentialing process to certify post-residency surgeons in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery.

With momentum gaining rapidly, it was decided to approach the Federal Trade Commission to encourage a ruling that physicians must disclose their certifying board when they identify themselves as “board-certified”. The FTC declined to make this ruling and a campaign was then launched to encourage state legislatures to pass laws that would permit physicians to disclose only ABMS or equivalent board certifications. “Recognition of the ABFPRS as a board equivalent to a primary board of the ABMS is in large part due to the efforts of surgeons who have worked tirelessly to develop and maintain the ABFPRS examination.”

Today, in an effort to carry out its mission, the ABFPRS established a mechanism for the education, qualification, training, review and certification of surgeons who are specializing in plastic and reconstructive surgery. The Board developed a series of objectives to help sustain these mechanisms.

They include:

· To establish standards of qualification for facial plastic and reconstructive surgeons

· To determine which candidates fulfill these standards of qualification

· To conduct examinations of such candidates and issue certificates upon satisfactory completion of requirements

· To improve and broaden the opportunities for graduate education and training of facial plastic and reconstructive surgeons

While the Board is neither an educational institution, nor a licensing body, and cannot license a person to practice medicine, it does add a lens of transparency into the education, training and qualifications of doctors like Dr. Jean-Paul Azzi.

Dr. Azzi is a double board-certified Palm Beach facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon who specializes exclusively in cosmetic and reconstructive procedures of the face, nose and neck.

Dr. Azzi’s beautiful offices are conveniently located in Jupiter and Palm City, Florida. These offices serve patients in the following South Florida areas and beyond: Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, Tequesta, Hobe Sound, Stuart, Palm City, Jensen Beach and Vero Beach.

Our offices provide every patient with personalized care. If you’re not sure whether a procedure is the best next step, call or click today for a consultation! (561) 429-5403

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