The American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (AACS) recently strengthened its fellowship program so that it is more closely aligned with the guidelines set forth by the American Council for Graduate Medical Education.

In a nutshell, candidates must complete an approved 1-year AACS fellowship, submit research for publication, and perform or assist with a minimum of 300 cosmetic surgery cases to be eligible to sit for the written and oral Cosmetic Board exam.

The AACS fellowship program has changed considerably since its 1984 inception. There are now 20 yearlong fellowship programs in the US that combine experience in facial cosmetic, dermatology, and general cosmetic procedures. Previously, the fellowships were divided among the subspecialties that fell under the rubric of cosmetic surgery.

In addition, there is no longer the option of taking the experience route ?to certification. We felt it was time to set the bar as high as possible. Cosmetic surgery is a distinct specialty and ?requites additional training rather than experience alone.

Applicants must have an MD or DO degree, and board certification or board eligibility in one of the American Board of Medical Specialties or American Osteopathic Association Boards in such fields as general surgery, gynecology & obstetrics, otolaryngology—head and neck surgery, plastic surgery, or maxillofacial surgery.

All AACS fellowships share a recommended skill set, educational objectives, and reading list. The education programs now include a monthly live Internet journal club highlighting surgical and nonsurgical topics. This enables fellows and directors throughout the country to interact and learn from one another. The new fellowships also emphasize the importance of original thought and research. All fellows must submit a paper to the American Journal of Cosmetic Surgery or a similar peer-reviewed publication.

To develop the more stringent fellowship program, the AACS set up a committee that comprised several leaders from each major surgical specialty performing cosmetic surgery. All Fellowship programs and guidelines will be continuously reviewed by a fellowship review committee to verify that each program provides case diversity in addition to education and surgical training. The overarching goal is to train a small, but select group of skilled cosmetic surgeons via total immersion in at least 1 full year following their surgical residency, reviewed by a committee.

indepth_VIP(Left to right): Ohio-based cosmetic surgeon Mark Mandell-Brown, MD, is the chairman of the AACS Fellowship Program. Both Angelo Cuzalina, MD, DDS, and Jane Petro, MD, are former AACS presidents. They can be reached via [email protected].

More ?information: For more information about AACS fellowship ?programs is available here.