Deciding that someone precious in your family needs a specialist is often not your choice. Most often your loved one exhibits signs and you start off at your family doctor. Your family physician would likely run a few tests and determine what the problem might be. For instance say your child was having ear infections all the time. Your family physician might direct you to an ear nose and throat specialist. Likewise if your child needs a cleft lip repair and a plastic surgeon is indicated you want the best.
Who walks into a surgeon's office and asks for the bargain price with the bargain surgeon? Generally we are all willing to pay whatever it takes to make our kids feel better, look better, and act like their old self again. So how do you know your getting a Doctor who knows what they are doing? Have you ever seen the plaque up at your physician’s office giving them the board certified seal? That is one way to be sure you’re getting both a knowledgeable and capable doctor.
So what does that board certification mean? Every Doctor has gone through school and got their medical license. They earned a bachelors degree, went to medical school, made it through a residency, and then they are licensed to practice. A board certified physician takes that extra step. They are willing to prove proficiency in their special field. They take an exam to prove this. Once they do this it's not over. They commit to learning about and practicing with advancements made in the field. So what does that mean for you?
If you were looking to have your child's cleft palate repaired you are going to want the newest most innovative procedures. You will want a repair that allows your child to have the best appearance possible. If you found a plastic surgeon with a specialty in the head and neck you would be more confident. Your surgeon would be up to date with the latest technology, and methods to leave your child repaired and looking great.
So how do you find a doctor or specialist who went that extra step? Well you can always ask. Another great idea is to search online for your family physician, plastic surgeon or even your dentist. There are many tools to tell you what other patients think of your doctor as well. In the end there are likely reasons a doctor is not board certified. Perhaps they failed the exam, or failed to comply to get a re certification. This does not mean that the doctor is not good at what he does, but you get to choose who you use, and how important that is to you. If it is reassuring to know that the plastic surgeon repairing your child's burns were certified and took the time for extra training, then that is worth looking into.