Is a Surgeon Who is Not Board Certified a Good Idea?

A friend won a boob job in a radio station promotion. The surgeon that will be performing the procedure is not certified by the ABPS (I checked) but he lists himself as "board eligible" on his site which I've told her amounts to a hill of beans. She is overlooking this because he has good pictures, is nice, and of course because it's all free. Can you please list the reasons this is a bad idea? Telling her "you get what you pay for" isn't doing the trick as she thinks I'm just jealous.

Doctor Answers 11

Avoid a raffled free breast augmentation!!!!!!!!!

This is insane to go to this doctor.  First of all, any honest surgeon wouldn't offer a free augmentation in a raffle.  If they were a trained plastic surgeon but not yet board certified (board eligible), they will NEVER get their boards if the American Board of Plastic Surgery ever finds out about this deal.  

Remind her that if there are any problem from this bogus doctor, she will need to go to a real one with full costs and will never get the best result since she is in a revision mode.

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Board certification

Board Eligible refers to the label given to surgeons before they are certified.  I became board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery which holds diplomates to a high standard of ethics.  If you have concerns, make sure to seek an opinion from a board-certified plastic surgeon.

Jeff Scott, MD
Everett Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Board certification by the american board of plastic surgery is the highest standard

I would advise your friend to seek out the opinion of a board certified plastic surgeon before having surgery.  It is considered unethical for a surgeon to give a procedure/service for "free" in a contest.  If the surgeon is board eligible, you need to find out why the surgeon is not board certified.

Just because she "won" a surgery does not mean she should necessarily have the procedure performed.

Plastic surgery should not be entered into lightly.

Best wishes,


William Bruno, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 162 reviews

Ethics in Plastic Surgeon

It is against the code of ethics of our society to raffle off surgery. The surgeon who would be desperate enough for this type of attention is probably not busy for good reason. Consider yourself fortunate not to have won this "prize". Have your friend contact the ASPS and ask the appropriate safety questions. Best of luck!

Christine Sullivan, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Board Certification Extremely Important

The fact that this surgeon is promoting free breast augmentations through a raffle, etc. means that they are not dedicated to being part of the board-certification process.  This is strictly forbidden by the American Society of Plastic Surgery, as well as the American Board of Plastic Surgery, the two governing bodies of our specialty.  If he/she does not abide by the ethical guidelines that are set forth on these matters, what else are they bypassing?  Board Certification means that a surgeon is commited to safe surgery and ethical decision making, and is willing to be constantly examined themselves to make sure they are adhering to those principles.  A board eligible surgeon just means that they have completed a residency training program, and that is it.  I hope this helps.

Won a radio station "free" breast augmentation by a non-board-certified "surgeon." Who pays for the re-do or complication?

It is against an ABPS-certified plastic surgeon's ethics to offer or participate in a raffle, give-away, promotion, or "free" surgery of any kind, even those for good causes! We would be expelled from our society and have our board certification revoked. You cannot give informed consent when you are "given" free surgery.

So who is this BOZO who promotes himself in a radio give-away? Who pays for any secondary, touch-up, revision, or treatment of complications surgery? Think about malpractice or negligence. Suppose something terrible happens and a lawsuit is started. You must understand that this so-called "surgeon's" defense will be that "It was 'free' surgery, what did she expect?" or "I don't have full training or certification, of course I don't know what the 'real plastic surgeons' do--how can I be held to their standards?"

"Board-eligible" by what "board?" Have your friend read my article "Why Board Certification is Critical When Choosing a Plastic Surgeon." Also have look at the Breast Implant revision page on my website and other ABPS plastic surgeons' sites. You are wise to try to gently steer her away from this possible disaster. Does she have to sign a form waiving her rights, or agreeing to before and after photographs in public?

Just say NO!

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 171 reviews

Board-certification Is Important

It is important to consult with a plastic surgeon who certified by the Amer. Board of Plastic Surgery which is the only plastic surgery related Board recognized by the Amer. Board of Med. Specialties.  Another concern is that participation in a promotion such as you describe is grounds for expulsion from the recognized national PS societies.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

It is a good idea to check your surgeon's qualifications prior to signing up for surgery!

Board certification by an accredited Board is an important qualification to check for prior to signing up for surgery.

If this surgeon is indeed Board Eligible, he will never be able to become Board Certified because raffling off surgery is against our Board ethics.

Although Board Certification does not guarantee results for any surgical procedure, it at least guarantees that the surgeon has had appropriate training and has passed rigorous testing to become Board Certified. It is foolish in my opinion to trust your body to a surgeon without these credentials.

It is also important to make sure that the Board Certification is from an accredited Board. As an example, the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery is NOT AN ACCREDITED BOARD. It is an organization that was formed by physicians from various specialties, who decided to certify themselves to do cosmetic surgery. Their members'  training is extremely variable!

Good luck convincing your friend!

Aysel Sanderson, MD
Kirkland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Not a good idea

All of the board elegiable or certified plastic surgeons will not participate in any raffle for free surgery since the winner may not be candidate for surgery. A surgeon should be very desperate to offer free surgery for publicity.

Kamran Khoobehi, MD
New Orleans Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

Is a Surgeon Who is Not Board Certified a Good Idea

Why is a good surgeon offering to do free surgery for a radio station? Would you trust fixing your car brakes to a self taught mechanic or a certified mechanic? Would you want your pilot to be certified or self taught without supervision? The asnwer is obvious?

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.