Breast Augmentation by a Board Certified General Surgeon?

Here is the deal. I have been referred to a surgeon by a very good friend of mine. HER friend just recently got her breasts done by this doctor and she is extremely pleased with her results, and SHE was referred to him by one of HER friends who also saw him and loved her results too! I see very good reviews on him and everyone seems to be very pleased with his work. But he is not board certified for PLASTIC surgery, only GENERAL surgery. I am not sure what to think...

Doctor Answers 31

Breast Augmentation by a Board Certified General Surgeon?

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This is a typical question we see all the time. Patients see non plastic surgeons such as dermatologist. ear nose and throat doctors and currently in our area emergency medicine doctors performing plastic surgery procedures which they have only seen in a weekend course. There has been a large migration of non plastic surgeons performing plastic surgery procedures. This is very risky for the patient. The procedures we perform are not difficult in themselves but experience and training helps us anticipate any and all possible complications that could arise. This knowledge lets us avoid those common complications from happening as often as they would with a physician without that extensive training. Most patients should ask themselves why is a doctor performing surgery outside of what they are certified to do. The answer is easy the goal is not the patient but the revenue.

Birmingham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 334 reviews

Selecting a plastic surgeon

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I agree with my colleagues here.  I am board-certified by both American Board of Surgery and American Board of Plastic Surgery.  During my general surgery training, I did not learn breast augmentation.  However, I learned to operate abdominal surgery, vascular surgery, pediatric surgery, and transplant surgery.  In short, during 5 years of general surgery training, we do not get much exposure in plastic surgery.  You do want to undergo plastic surgery by an experienced plastic surgeon who is properly trained in that particular field and be able to take care of you in case of a complication.  

Choosing the right surgeon for you

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I concur with my colleagues here.  The fact that you are asking this questions shows 1. something in your gut is bothering you about having plastic surgery done by someone trained only in general surgery and 2. you have great insight into proper training.   I do recommend that you visit with a plastic surgeon who is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.  Here is one thought:  don't think about the good results - think about the undesirable situation should you have a procedure and something untoward occurs.  Will your surgeon have enough experience and training to either 1) prevent this untoward outcome or 2) treat it properly to get you to a healed happy state. Would you want your podiatrist or dentist doing your facelift?  Then why would you want a general surgeon doing your cosmetic plastic surgery??  Remember, board certification in the proper correct specialty matters.  Best of luck. Find a surgeon near you with the link below.

Choosing a surgeon

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Obviously something is bothering you otherwise you would not have posted this question. Like many of the responding doctors I was a fully trained board certified general surgeon before I completed my plastic surgery training and certification. Looking back although I could place breast implants without difficulty before plastic surgery training there is no way I could have obtained consistent results or handled the numerous possible complications of this surgery. For me to say only go to a surgeon with certain training is non-constructive.

The required steps in choosing a surgeon are

1. getting names of plastic surgeons
2. checking their credentials
3. the consultation – what to ask
4. making a choice – a consumer checklist

After going through these steps and evaluating a few surgeons you should then choose between these surgeons. Remember you usually cannot go back in time to undo/redo a surgery if you are unhappy with it.

Aaron Stone, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon

Choose a Board Certified Plastic Surgeons

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I completed both a general surgery residency and a plastic surgery fellowship.  I am board certified in both general surgery and plastic surgery.  I simply did not learn the technical nuisances and management of complication of plastic surgery during my general surgery training.  You deserve the best available, choose wisely and pick a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who has the proper training and certification to perform your breast augmentation.  To learn more about board certification in plastic surgery please go to my website and I have a video explaining the certification process.

You Deserve Breast Augmentation by a Specialist

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Personal referrals are important, but there is no substitute for specialized training.

Don't you deserve the care of the most highly trained specialist?

Paul C. Zwiebel, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Breast augmentation by a good general surgeon

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You must have some concerns, despite the good reviews about the general surgeon.  Follow your intuition.  See two plastic surgeons in consultation, then make up your mind.

H. Michael Roark, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Why you want to see a plastic surgeon

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I always wonder why a surgeon who wants to do plastic surgery doesn't get the best possible training to learn plastic surgery.  Couldn't get in to a program?  Didn't want to take the time?  Thought they know enough?  A lot of knowledge, training and experience go into doing breast augmentations.  Every woman  and every breast is a little different.  General surgery training didn't begin to teach me what I needed to know.  Plastic Surgery training taught me much more and twenty years of experince has honed my abilities.  It is possible you might get a good result with a general surgeon, but who will deal with the problems if you don't? Every surgeon gets problems.  It's knowing how to prevent as many as you can ahead of time and how to deal with them when they do happen that makes the difference.  See a few board certified plastic surgeons.  Look at their photos.  Increase your odds of getting a good result by choosing one of them.

Lori H. Saltz, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Who should do breast augmentation?

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My posture on this is that generally you should talk to a surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.  Then lets look at the general surgeon.  General surgeons are usually fine surgeons trained in abdominal surgery etc and certainly they do mastectomies etc.  Being good technical surgeons trained in surgery for years they can certainly learn and adapt well to doing breast augmentation.  I have no problem as long as their work is fine, they are Fellows of the American College of Surgeons  (check this carefully) and are true surgeons.  I have no problem.  I do get concerned when physicians with no membership in the American College of Surgeons do surgery with no formal training  or very little.  Surgeons by Proclimation I call them.  Assure your general surgeon has  general surgery boards and assure membership in FACS.   Discuss numbers of cases done and ask to speak to 3 patients.  Talk to a ABPS surgeon in  the area and to your family doctor.  Do reaserch.  You live with the result forever.  Good luck

Board Certification

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An ASPS board certified Surgeon is a doctor with more than six years of surgical training and experience, with at least three years specifically in plastic surgery. Their training and experience make them uniquely qualified to perform your cosmetic procedure. These surgeons are specifically trained in the art of plastic surgery as well how to treat complications from surgery. The ASPS surgeon is also passionate about plastic was not an after thought to perform cosmetic procedures but a goal that took years to achieve.   The more surgical procedures you perform, the more experience you have, the better the patient results. You only have one body. Trust it to a surgeon who is fully trained. Being ASPS Board certified is not an easy accomplishment which is why only the most talented and dedicated surgeons achieve this board certification.

Christine Sullivan, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 35 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.