Ask a doctor

Checking if Tummy Tuck Surgeon is Qualified and Reputable

Currently, I'm trying to find a good plastic surgeon to do my tummy tuck. I have been on only one consultation and it wasn't even with doctor--it was with the nurse coordinator or something like that. Being that he wasn't in on that day, I did reschedule my appointment. The thing is I have 2 other doctors whom I will be going to see for consultations, but I would like to know, how can I find out how reputable and accredited they really are? 

Doctor Answers (14)

How best to check a surgeon's credentials?

+2

Hi there-

You can quickly check whether a surgeon is board certified (and more importantly, whether the are certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery) by following this link:

https://www.abplsurg.org/ModDefault.aspx?section=PubFind

I also recommend investigating their education (medical school) and residency training program.

In a previous entry, I described how common it is for patients who contact my Orlando plastic surgery center to make the mistake of thinking that:

Anyone offering a plastic surgery procedure MUST be appropriately trained and certified to perform that procedure; this is, unfortunately, not the case.

All plastic surgery training is equal, and so shopping for the best price is the best way to choose a surgeon

In that previous entry, I explained how not all people offering plastic surgery are Board Certified Plastic Surgeons, and in fact, many are not even plastic surgeons! There are now many doctors in other specialties offering to perform plastic surgery procedures without the benefit of the years of training a plastic surgeon receives, convincing their patients that a few weeks of training is sufficient for them to learn what we learn in YEARS.

I explained the potentially dangerous error of choosing based on price.

Finally, I explained how to properly choose not only a surgeon, but also the importance of choosing the facility in which the procedure will be performed and also the anesthesia provider.

For today's entry, we'll assume a healthy understanding of these issues. Having done your homework, and ascertained that the surgeons you are considering are all plastic surgeons Board Certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery, the facilities in which they operate are all certified by the AAAASF or JCAHO, and the anesthesia providers are all well-qualified, how do you make the final decision?

Here are my recommendations:

Consider the relative quality of the surgeon's medical school educations. While it is true that most medical educations will cover the basics, there is a reason that some institutions grow international reputations and perpetually fight for the best students.

A medical school education among these "Best and Brightest" students and educators could reasonably be expected to produce (and historically has produced) America's finest doctors and surgeons. Ranking lists of medical schools take these things into consideration and are a useful resource. The most respected list, from US News and World Report, can be found here:

http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-medical-schools/research-rankings

Find out where the surgeon completed his/her Plastic Surgery Residency. This is the critical and years long process of going from a medical student to a qualified plastic surgeon, where we learn to do plastic surgery by gradually taking on more responsibility under the watchful eyes of other, already trained and experienced surgeons. Just like medical schools, not all training programs are equal in the breadth, intensity and quality of training offered.

Generally speaking, those programs associated with the best medical schools also provide the best training, as they will be able to attract and retain the best, most experienced and reputable professors of plastic surgery- and the quality of our training will depend on the quality of those training us. For example, I completed my own Plastic Surgery training at Washington University in St. Louis, one of the top 5 medical schools in the United States- and it also happens to be the birthplace of American Plastic Surgery.

It bears repeating that you should be absolutely sure that the surgeon you are considering is Board Certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery. This is easily done at the Board's site:

https://www.abplsurg.org/ModDefault.aspx?section=PubFind

Know that surgeons who claim to be "Board Eligible" in plastic surgery are NOT board certified. This may be because they simply have not taken the examinations- but this is doubtfully the true explanation, as The American Board of Plastic Surgery specifically prohibits claiming ANY status with The Board until and unless you have passed all examinations. Much more likely is that they were unable to pass the examinations (or simply never took them), but realize they may lose patients if they don't find a way to fool them into thinking they have status with The Board. Are you starting so understand that not all doctors have integrity?

Spend some time thinking about the interactions you have had with the surgeon and his/her staff. You should realize that having a plastic surgery procedure is NOT a singular interaction, like buying a new handbag, in which once the bag is purchased (or the surgery completed) the interaction can be considered to be complete. Rather, you are choosing to enter into a very important relationship with your surgeon, the critical portions of which should be expected to last at least a few months beyond the date of your surgery, as you recover and heal. This very important relationship should therefore be approached with the same care you would give any other... think about whether you think the surgeon will be responsive to your needs and concerns, whether your personalities will allow healthy interaction, the approachability of his/her staff, etc...

Remember- you don't only want to have achieved a great outcome when all is said and done... you want to have had an uplifting and positive experience you can look back on and smile! You can have this in the best practices.

Finally, never forget that what you are really looking for is the very best OUTCOME you can achieve. Sometimes when I'm asked by friends and family how to sort through all the claims some surgeons make of being the best choice because they (the surgeon in question) were voted "the best" by some magazine, or because the surgeon simply says they are "the best", I am reminded of the first Clinton presidential campaign, in which the slogan "It's the economy, stupid" helped Mr. Clinton win the White House. Once you've done the homework outlined above, it's all about the OUTCOME...

Ask to see photos of the surgeon's previous work- and ask yourself if you would be pleased if you looked like the photos they show you. Think about how many good photos they show you. Do most of the outcomes just look funny, with only a few that you think are attractive and natural, or are all of their results pleasing and attractive, even if every one may not be what you specifically want? If the surgeon can't show you at least a few outcomes you find attractive and pleasing, you should look elsewhere.

Be sure to ask directly whether the photos you are being shown are the surgeon's own work (believe it or not, some actually do try to attract patients by showing them the work of others!)

I also always recommend communicating with a few of the surgeon's prior patients who have had the same procedure they are recommending for you. You can ask the surgeon's staff for a list of patients who may have agreed to be called, or find testimonials online at one of the many plastic surgery websites now available. My favorite, because it is objective, free (surgeons cannot pay to be listed higher, so more credibility exists), and allows you to get a feel for the surgeon's manner and personality, is RealSelf:

www.RealSelf.com

I know it seems like a huge amount of work, but after you've read this (as well as my prior post) a few times, you'll have a great understanding of the best way to proceed, and it will feel very comfortable and natural to you. Use the resources I've outlined, and use your gut- there are many great surgeons out there- with these guidelines you should be able to attain the outcome and experience you desire.


Orlando Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 98 reviews

Physician's Qualifications

+2

LI tummy tuck - this is a difficult question to answer. First of all, the physician should be board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, membership in the Aesthetic Society or the American Society of Plastic Surgery is good too. Now - even though we do most of our procedures as an outpatient you want to know what LOCAL hospital your DR is affiliated with --- what happens if you have an issue in the surgery center -- where would you be treated? Also check the New York State Physician profile go get info on the doctor (http://www.nydoctorprofile.com/welcome.jsp).

Next you must feel comfortable during your consultation with the doctor ( remember they will be doing the surgery not the nurse consultant). If the doctor does not spend time with your before your surgery answering your questions, for sure they will spend no time with you after - especially if you have a problem.

Have them explain the procedure, why they are doing that one, the risks, complications and alternatives. Find out who covers them at night - if you are having a problem will you call and not be able to reach them or are they available at night?

Look at their pictures and get an idea as to what you can expect. Remember all is not price as you often get what you pay for - and experience of the surgeon counts.

I hope this helped you and did not confuse you. Good luck,

William B. Rosenblatt, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Finding Tummy Tuck Surgeon?

+1

Thank you for the question.

Check with the  American  Board of Plastic Surgery  and/or  The American Society of Plastic Surgeons for plastic surgeons appropriately trained and certified. This is a good place to start.

Next evaluate the experience level and quality of results by looking at before and after pictures and examining/talking to patients who have had similar procedures performed.

Once you have done enough due diligence research you will feel comfortable with the plastic surgeon you choose.

I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 710 reviews

Tips for finding a good plastic surgeon

+1

In today's market you need to be VERY careful about the doctors you choose. In the world of plastic surgery (cosmetic procedures) there are a lot of practitioners that are NOT board certified plastic surgeons providing services. Some are more qualified than others, but none are more qualified than a board certified plastic surgeon.

Any "Board" that has the word "cosmetic" in it is not a true board that is regulated by the American Board of Medical Specialties. The ABMS is in charge of supervising and regulating all the legitimate Boards in the United States. There is only one Board that certifies plastic surgeons in the United States - the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

You can also look for membership in various Societies. Membership in certain Societies requires that the surgeon be Board Certified and adhere to a very high code of ethics. Two examples are the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

I hope this info helps!

Adam Rubinstein, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Find a board certified plastic surgeon to do your tummy tuck

+1

The first step in finding a reputable surgeon to do your tummy tuck is to make sure they are a board certified plastic surgeon. You can locate one by going to www.plasticsurgery.org . This is the official website of the American Society of Plastic Surgery. By typing in your city or zip code you will find a list of board certified plastic surgeons in your area. I would recommend scheduling a consultation with 2 or 3 surgeons and see who you feel most comfortable with. Ask to see before/after pictures and ask to speak with previous patients to gauge their experience. Taking these steps will allow you to feel comfortable with your surgeon and decision.

Good luck.

David A. Robinson, MD
Munster Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

How to check a plastic surgeon

+1

To check the credentials of the plastic surgeon follow the prior recommendations. Be sure the Plastic Surgeon is certified by The American Board of Plastic surgery. This is the only board in plastic surgery recognized by the american board of medical specialties (ABMS). However, you need to understand that this only assure you of the proper training of the surgeon, it will not give you any idea about the results from your surgery.

I disagree with the previous comment about asking your medical doctor or gynecologist, This is a cosmetic surgery and usually this kind of doctors will refer reconstructive cases no cosmetics. The best way is to talk to other patients and to check 2 or 3 plastic surgeons in consultation.

One advise is to be sure to see some pictures, but remember every body is different, try to see patients with your same body shape.

I will not go back to the surgeon you visit first, if he does no have time to see patients in the initial consultation suggest he does not care about them.Finally, talk to the surgeon about the belly bottom, because the scar around the belly bottom will be the most visible.

Good luck.

Victor M. Perez, MD, FACS
Kansas City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Tummy Tuck surgeon qualification

+1

Be sure the doctor is certified by the American Boaard of Plastic Surgery.  Also, American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery would be good. Check photos, ask around, talk with patients of his.

Scott E. Kasden, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Plastic Surgery Qualifications

+1

New York has HUNDREDS of Plastic surgeons and hundreds more who market themselves as such. Your best bet is to check the referral service of The American Society of Plastic Surgeons at www.PlasticSurgery.org - all its members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery AND are subject to a culture of safety and a Code of Ethics (you can read more about them on its website).

I would NOT go to free consultations or 5 minute "consultations" where the object is to sell you an operation. I would see as many real Plastic surgeons as possible see how they interact with you, how they explain your options and what their before and after photos look like. If possible ask to speak to previous patients.

Based on all of this - you are bound to pick a good surgeon.

Dr. P. Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Make sure your tummy tuck surgeon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery

+1

Finding out if your surgeon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery is the best way to ensure that he or she is properly trained to do a tummy tuck. The website is www.abplsurg.org and you can search for your doctor there. The next important thing to ask, particularly if the surgeon has an office operating suite is if he or she has priveleges to do a tummy tuck in a hospital. Only physicians trained to be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery will be able to do tummy tucks in an outside operating room. Anyone can do this surgery in their own, internal surgery suite.

As far as whether they are reputable. Ask your primary care doctor if he or she has other patients who have seen this doctor before. Also ask the doctor if you can speak with patients of their's who have had tummy tucks. Previous patients are a great source of nitty gritty information about the doctor and about what the surgery and recovery were like.

Elizabeth Slass Lee, MD
Bay Area Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Checking if Tummy Tuck surgeon is qualified and reputable

+1

Steps to take to find the 'REAL' plastic surgeon:

1. Call or e/mail the American Board of Plastic Surgery, Inc.

2. Call or e/mail the ASPS

3. Same as above but to the State Board of Medicine

4. Same but to any large hospital in your area. Ask for head nurse in Surgery. Than ask her.

5. Ask your Family doctor, Gyn, other care giving doctor you know.

6. Ask family and friends

This will give you an opportunity to compare names. Next see 3 of these doctors to help you find the right one Regards.

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 61 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.