What It Means to Be a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

February 24, 2023 | Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery

Written by Kelly Sullivan, MD, FACS

It is an honor and a privilege to be a plastic surgeon. Our patients trust us to make the best decision for their medical and surgical plan and then carry out those procedures with technical expertise while also caring for the whole patient throughout the healing process. The art and science of medicine goes well beyond deciding which filler to inject or how much fat to remove; it involves understanding how, why, and when to operate, and then knowing how to do it in a way that promotes the health and well being of the patient. Above all, we need to keep our patients safe and uphold the oath of “do no harm.”

Board certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery is the hallmark of the safe, skilled, and ethical plastic surgeon. Unfortunately for our patients, there are many physicians or “physician extenders” who are performing cosmetic procedures without the proper training, skill or knowledge. Often these non-board certified providers are more concerned with promoting their business and making money than they are about taking care of the patient.

Since my early school days I knew that I wanted to become a doctor. After receiving my Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, I pursued medical studies at Harvard Medical School. After graduating in 1997, I moved to Atlanta for my General Surgery Residency followed by a three year Plastic Surgery Fellowship at Emory University. There I met my husband, Dr. Justin L. Cashman, an orthopedic surgeon who also was from Northern Virginia. Annapolis seemed like the perfect spot – close to family but far from the chaos of the DC Metro area – to establish our medical practices and raise our children.

I opened my Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery practice in Annapolis in 2003 and immediately obtained my board certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery in 2004. Subsequently, I became a Fellow in the American College of Surgeons. In addition to being on staff at the Anne Arundel Medical Center, I also joined the courtesy faculty at Johns Hopkins Hospital Department of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery; volunteering my time to work with the plastic surgery residents.

In Annapolis, I have developed a practice with a special interest in breast surgery, cancer reconstruction, body contouring, and aesthetic facial surgery. I spend time with my patients, listening to their desires and creating a medical and surgical plan that will safely and effectively meet their goals. I believe strongly in maintaining board certification and I therefore stay involved with continuing medical education and case evaluations through the ASPS and the ABPS. I also believe in community service and am an active member of the Annapolis Rotary club. I also am the Founder and President of Wellness House of Annapolis – a non-profit organization that provides support services for those affected by cancer (www.annapoliswellnesshouse.org).

Along with the privilege of being a plastic surgeon comes a great responsibility; and I am grateful to the American Board of Plastic surgery for creating guidelines that keep our patients safe and remind us of the very important oath we took to become physicians.

“…May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.”