Does a Plastic Surgeon Have to Be Board Certified?

I recently went in for a consult with a surgeon regarding brazillian butt augmentation and breast implants and the pictures of before and after seem great but when I asked if he was board certified he said not but that been board certified is just one more star to a surgeon curriculum and that many surgeons who are board certified do a bad job. I'm very confuse as I should trust him with my surgery or not.

Doctor Answers 10


Certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery is a sign that a plastic surgeon has met certain requirements, training, ethical standards, and experience. Can a board-certified plastic surgeon do a "bad" job. Of course. Can a non-board-certified plastic surgeon be a genius? Of course. But elective surgery is all about reducing your risk and increasing your chance of success. I would ask around about your plastic surgeon. Some are just out of residency and are not eligible to be board-certified. So at least he/she should be board-eligible. Inquire from actual patients. Photos in my opinion are nearly worthless since they do not say if a patient is satisfied or was treated well. Talk to your personal physician, and especially gynecologist. They know, or can find out, the reputation of local plastic surgeons.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

You need a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

There are so many bogus doctors out there praying on the unsuspecting patient.  It is really a terrible shame.  If you want real, honest and excellent care first find a surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (not just "board certified" as you need to know in WHAT they are certified).  Interview 2 or 3 and select the best.  But don't ever let a non-board certified doctor play down the value of being a real board certified plastic surgeon.

Board Certification

My advice for anyone planning plastic surgery is first and foremost to investigate carefully and ensure that the provider is board certified specifically in plastic surgery through the American Board of Medical Specialties. 

As plastic surgery becomes more mainstream, we’ve seen a growth in unqualified providers who gain business by offering cut-rate deals. Of course, there’s a reason: They are not likely to be board certified specifically in plastic surgery and often don’t provide the proper level of care. The difference in cost for a real plastic surgeon is a small price to pay for appearance and safety.

Board Certification

Unless the person is certified by a board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties, ABMS, I would recommend seeking another opinion. There is no evidence to indicate competence or incompetence based on any board certification. What the ABMS certification does indicate is that the person has taken a year's long residency, and has passed rigorous testing to become board certified in a particular specialty. Finally you should ask what specialty the person is certified in and is it recognized by the ABMS. Being board certified in Family Medicine does not mean that the person is competent to perform heart surgery. There is much information on the internet about the ABMS.

Richard O. Gregory, MD
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Very Important...

The most important decision you make when undergoing surgery is CAREFUL selection of your plastic surgeon. If your selected physician is not a board certified plastic surgeon, cancel surgery and do your due diligence carefully; select a well experienced board-certified plastic surgeon in your area who can demonstrate significant experience achieving the outcomes you would be pleased with. Best wishes.

Does a plastic surgeon have to be board certified?

Hello! Thank you for your question.  Cost will vary among plastic surgeons as well as with geographic location and what procedures exactly they will be providing to you.  Certainly, researching a board certified plastic surgeon well-versed in the procedure(s) you desire is recommended - checking the American Board of Plastic Surgery is a great start. Consult with two or more surgeons who you are happy with their postoperative photographs and those who you, most importantly, feel comfortable and confident with. Use the opportunity to ask questions as well as visit with staff and investigate the accredited facilities they work out of.  I believe fellowship-training, beyond the core plastic surgery residency to be important, as that surgeon has gone above and beyond to seek additional training specific to that area of interest and chosen to gain additional expertise in that area.    

Experience should not be measured solely by the age of the surgeon or how many years s/he has been in practice.  Checking the education and training is more valuable - a Board Certified MD plastic surgeon who was accepted to and completed an integrated plastic surgery residency, in today's day and age, are excellent choices. Those are the top students who have superior training at top institutes.  Plastic Surgery is NOT a is a residency. Those surgeons who have actually successfully completed additional fellowship training beyond the plastic surgery residency are also passionate about that area and will likely have the most recent, innovative, and up to date techniques. These are usually the younger surgeons, who are still readily willing and competent to continue to strive for the newest material and remain up to date on literature and conferences. 

You must decide for yourself who you are most comfortable with and confident with who will meet your goals and expectations. Cost may differ just on expertise and the aforementioned additional training ad what that additional expertise training has afforded to his/her patients.  Hope that this helps!  Best wishes!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Board Certified

Hello Good Morning , 
Absolutely it is in my opinion extremely important that the surgeon who pick is board certified as we have completed the required course of study, and have been accredited and have done the training and and have successfully passed the examination given to us and have been board certified. You must always look for a well prepared Doctor that counts with all his requirements being so board certified by not choosing a board certified surgeon you are at a very high risk for bad surgery. So be cautios this is your life , a bad Doctor can damage you for life. 


Regards !

Luis Suarez, MD
Mexico Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

You NEED a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

Hi there-

I am VERY concerned about what this surgeon said to you, and would think (based on what he said) there is probably a reason he is not board certified.

It also makes me wonder if the photos you were shown were actually his own work.

I would be very worried, and do not think I could recommend a surgeon to a family member under these circumstances.

Here is some advice on how to find a surgeon you like and CAN trust:

Board certified plastic surgeon

If your doctor is a young plastic surgeon and going through the certification process, then it may be ok. But if he is not board ceritified and not in the process of certification, I would be cautious.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

When choosing a board certified surgeon: Things to think about.

Think about this: Are you sure the before and after photos were the surgeon's work,. If he was board certifed, they would have to be as well as meet certain criteria for standardization. If he was not board certfied, he could be showing you anyone's work, taken from the internet, and there would be few if any consequences to him/her. Choosing a board certifed surgeon means that surgeon is subject to ongoing scrutiny by his/her peers and can be disciplined for his/her actions. They are generally held to ah higher standard and must meet that standard. 

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 60 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.