Continuing education courses for plastic surgeons are often offered in an online format or during conferences sponsored by hospitals, medical schools or professional organizations, such as the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) and the Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation (ASERF). Students may also take courses in plastic surgery as electives in some M.D. programs.
While some courses are aimed at plastic surgeons wishing to expand their skills and knowledge in the field, others may be geared toward plastic surgeons who are renewing their professional certification or licensure. Courses may cover many general topics or focus on specific areas of the plastic surgery field.
Here are a few common concepts contained within plastic surgery courses:
- Skin grafts
- Operative procedures
- Genitourinary system
- Vascular anomalies
- Postoperative care
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Online Plastic Surgery CME Courses
Online CME courses allow practicing plastic surgeons to remain current on the latest surgical equipment and other technologies. Courses cover a variety of topics, including some that focus on areas of the body, such as the face, breast or hands. However, others courses are designed to address different types of surgery, such as reconstructive or cosmetic. Courses might also address medical administrative issues, such as procedural or diagnostic coding, insurance reimbursement or new techniques in managing patient safety.
These courses are available by ordering online, which allows plastic surgeons to proceed through the course at their own pace. Course formats vary but can include CD-ROM, DVD, MP3 or MP4 data disks and course packets that provide accompanying information. Each online plastic surgery course is typically worth one American Medical Association Physician's Recognition Award (AMA PRA) Category 1 credit.
Plastic Surgery Conference CME Courses
Professional organizations, sometimes in conjunction with local hospitals or medical schools, often offer plastic surgeons the opportunity to earn CME credits during conference seminars. These seminars offer instruction on various topics in the field, such as face-lift techniques, laser surgery precautions and patient consent practices to avoid malpractice suits. Many courses help plastic surgeons maintain their American Board of Plastic Surgery certification, while allowing them to learn about the latest surgical technologies.
Some plastic surgery conferences occur on an annual basis, though others are offered less often. Conference courses can earn participants a varying number of CME credits, usually ranging between credits per session, but sometimes up to 40 per conference. More credits are usually given for seminars that offer technique demonstrations and workshop practicum opportunities using cadavers in addition to the standard lecture format.
Plastic Surgery Elective Courses
In addition to continuing education, plastic surgery courses are also offered as electives in some graduate-level medicinal programs. Upon completing the introductory courses in the first few years of a degree program, students are often given some flexibility to explore personal and professional interests through elective courses. Electives in plastic surgery introduce students to the basic tenants of the field and provide a solid foundation in the essential ideas and concepts concerning plastic surgery.