Facial plastic surgery has had many contributors to its development through the years, many of them otolaryngologists.
Otolaryngology was one of earliest specialties in Canada, being founded in 1937, notably 10 years prior to the arrival of Plastic Surgery as a specialty. Plastic Surgery procedures were performed for at least seventeen hundred years, as evidenced in written records. It is quite apparent that the practice of plastic surgery has been around much longer than the specialty of Plastic Surgery.
The term “plastic” is a generic term meaning “to shape or mold”. Many specialists, not only plastic surgeons, have always performed plastic surgery. These include otolaryngologists, general surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, urologists, oculoplastic surgeons and others. The training and competency of such surgeons to perform these procedures in their field of expertise is widely recognized not only by the Royal College but also by the public. As facial plastic surgery has developed over the last fifty years in North America, otolaryngologists developed a greater interest in these procedures. Now are widely recognized as the plastic surgical specialists in the head and neck.
It is the facial plastic surgeon trained in Otolaryngology who is recognized as an expert in cosmetic and reconstructive rhinoplasty, not to mention major post-ablative plastic surgical repairs of the head and neck.
The expertise of otolaryngologists performing facial plastic surgery has been accompanied by recognition. Both university residency programs and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons know that the highest level of training is required for this specialty. There is every evidence that this competency has been achieved by residents in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery programs over the past years. Presently, the Royal College of Surgeons examination in Otolaryngology has a substantial component directed to facial plastic surgery. Numerous otolaryngologists rotate through Plastic Surgery residency programs for training, as plastic surgeons rotate through Otolaryngology programs.
The proper term “Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery” and “Facial Plastic Surgery” have been used for at least forty-four years in the United States and Canada.
In North America, the American Medical Association and American College of Surgeons also recognize this specialty, as does the American Board of Medical Specialties recognize “Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery”, as a specialist field, within Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery. The Canadian Society of Otolaryngology-Head Neck Surgery and the Otolaryngology-Head Neck Surgery Section of Ontario Medical Association also recognize and support “Facial Plastic Surgery” and the use of this title as a primary title by otolaryngologists. Indeed, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) recognized this terminology in 1992 by confirming use of the terminology “Facial Plastic Surgery-Otolaryngology” for specialists in this field.
In addition to the above, in 1986 the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ABFPRS) was formed to examine for competency in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery. Candidates for this examination were otolaryngologists or plastic surgeons who not only completed a residency program, but also completed a one-year accredited fellowship program and then sat for the examination. In addition they required a minimum of two years practice experience and peer review of a substantial caseload and meeting of professional standards for full fellowship. To date, almost one thousand surgeons, otolaryngologists and plastic surgeons, have been certified by this Board. Many of the Fellows of the CAFPRS are also Diplomates of this Board.
This Board, although not an ABMS board, is widely recognized by state regulators as having standards equivalent to the American Board of Medical Specialties. Furthermore, it is one of the first Boards that has introduced a recertification examination process and is in the vanguard of creating certification standards that safeguard the public interest.