What Does It Mean to be a Board Certified Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon?

Surgical specialization is one of the major enhancements in medical care over the last 30 years. For example, a fellowship-trained Reconstructive & Facial Plastic Surgeon in Seattle has more comprehensive training in facial surgery than any other medical specialty.

To become a board-certified Facial Plastic Surgeon like Dr. Ridgway, one must complete an internship in General Surgery followed by a four-year ACGME-approved residency in Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. During this training, the surgeon focuses specifically on anatomy, medical conditions, and treatment of the head, face, and neck. Extensive training is dedicated to plastic and reconstructive surgery during this critical time. At the completion of the residency training, the surgeon is then board-eligible by the American Board of Medical Subspecialties (ABMS) to practice Head & Neck Surgery as well as Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

Testing and Certification

The surgeon must complete and pass a rigorous two-day written and oral examination to become board-certified. For those who wish to dedicate their professional careers exclusively to facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, the Fellowship Program of the Educational and Research Foundation for the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) represents the finest post-graduate training in the world for facial plastic surgery and is supported by the dedicated efforts of the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ABFPRS). At the completion of fellowship training, the surgeon must then complete another two-day written and oral examination, undergo peer review of at least fifty facial plastic surgery cases per year over two years, obtain appropriate medical licensing, and adhere to the ABFPRS code of ethics.

It is only at this point that a surgeon becomes board-certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

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What Does It Mean to be a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FACS)?

The letters FACS (Fellow, American College of Surgeons) after a surgeon’s name mean that the surgeon’s education and training, professional qualifications, surgical competence, and ethical conduct have passed a rigorous evaluation and have been found to be consistent with the high standards established and demanded by the oldest and most esteemed surgical society in American – The American College of Surgeons. The applicant surgeon requests and voluntarily submits an application for Fellowship. In doing so they are inviting an evaluation of their practice by the College and by their surgical peers.

In evaluating the eligibility of applicants for Fellowship, the College investigates each applicant’s entire surgical practice. Applicants for Fellowship are required to provide all information deemed necessary for the investigation and evaluation of their surgical practice.


These requirements include graduation from a medical school acceptable to the American College of Surgeons, appropriate board certification to the applicant’s specialty practice by an American Surgical Specialty Board, which is a member of the American Board of Medical Specialties, a full and unrestricted medical license, current appointment on the surgical staff of the applicant’s primary hospital with no reportable action pending, a current practice that establishes the applicant as a specialist in surgery, interest in pursuing professional excellence both as an individual surgeon and a member of the surgical community, and ethical fitness as well as professional proficiency as determined by an appropriate College Credentials Committee.

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Becoming a Fellowship-Trained Surgeon

This determination is based upon information obtained from five Fellows of the College who are practicing surgery in the same geographic area as the applicant. Each Fellow named as a reference will be asked by the College to furnish a statement about the applicant’s qualifications as a surgeon, as well as the applicant’s professional and ethical standing in the community.

The chief of surgery at each applicant’s designated primary hospital is also requested to provide a letter of reference. The applicants will also compile and submit the most recent twelve-month summary listing of all surgical procedures they have performed after completion of all formal training. Additionally, the applicant will be requested to present detailed case reports and related information as additional evidence of their professional proficiency during a committee interview. 

The Invitation to Become a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons

Upon the completion of this detailed analysis and peer review, only then may the applicant be invited to become a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Ridgway is honored to be a Board-Certified facial plastic surgeon and Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, with all that these titles signify as an experienced, practice expert in his field.

Schedule A Consultation

If you are ready to refresh and rejuvenate your look today, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with one of the best plastic surgeons Seattle has to offer: Dr. James M. Ridgway. During your private consultation Dr. Ridgway will carefully evaluate your face and the subtle imperfections that concern you most before providing you with a personalized blend of Bellevue cosmetic surgery procedures that will help you achieve your ideal facial appearance.

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