SACRAMENTO, CALIF. After a decade-long struggle to gain specialty board recognition in California, the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS) recently won its petition in a lawsuit against the Medical Board of California. As a result, board-certified cosmetic surgeons in California will be allowed to refer to their board certification in cosmetic surgery in advertisements and in telephone listings.
The ABCS first filed its application for specialty board equivalency recognition with the Medical Board of California in the mid-90's, which was denied in 1997. The ABCS submitted the current application based on its new certification requirements.
Following two presentations by the ABCS, the Medical Board of California rejected the organization's follow-on application without stating its reason. The ABCS subsequently filed suit in the California Superior Court against the Medical Board of California and the State. In September, the Superior Court directed the Medical Board to grant ABCS's application for equivalency.The California decision is one important step in the public's education about cosmetic surgery and those who perform it, according to Peter Canalia, ABCS's executive director. "This ruling provides consumers vital information regarding cosmetic surgeons, which fosters patient safety and choice," he says.
In 1979, the ABCS was established to test and verify legitimate training and experience by surgeons performing cosmetic surgery. Most training in cosmetic surgery is postgraduate, occuring after a surgeon has obtained specialty certification by a separate American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).
According to Robert Jackson, M.D., ABCS president, theirs is the only board that evaluates cosmetic surgeons.
"Only ABCS certification represents a surgeon's education and experience in the cosmetic surgery specialty," he says. "The court ruled in our favor because our certification requirements meet or exceed the ABMS's and satisfy California's statutory requisites," he concludes.