Graduate who can't afford NYC tummy tuck; Would having it performed by a resident at a PS clinic make any financial difference?

I would love a tummy tuck, but cannot leave NYC to have it done due to childcare. Would having it performed by a resident at a PS clinic make any significant financial different? I heard mixed messages.

Doctor Answers 6

Tummy tuck performed by plastic surgery resident?

Yes, it is very likely that a procedure performed by a plastic surgery resident would cost less;  what I would be concerned about is the quality of the outcome of the procedure performed.

There is no doubt that a board-certified plastic surgeon will have a greater experience level than the plastic surgeon in training.  I would suggest starting with the American Society of Plastic Surgery and/or the Aesthetic Society of Plastic Surgery to obtain a list of well experienced board-certified plastic surgeons.

Then, I would suggest you visit a few surgeons whose practices concentrate on aesthetic surgery. Ask to SEE lots of examples of their work AND preferably speak/see patients who have had similar procedures done.

Be very careful with your decision-making. You will find, while doing your due diligence, that there are many different “specialties” who will offer their services to you; again, I strongly recommend you concentrate on surgeons certified by the relevant Board of Plastic Surgery.

I would also suggest that you do not base your selection of plastic surgeon primarily on costs of surgery; keep in mind that revisionary surgery may be more costly in many ways.  In other words, I would suggest that you save up and have the procedure performed by a board certified plastic surgeon who you feel confident can deliver an outcome that you will be pleased with long-term.  I hope this, and the attached link, helps. Best wishes.

San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,488 reviews

Resident's Clinic

Thanks for your great question.  Remember, we were all residents at one time.  These clinics are always supervised by a board certified plastic surgeon while the residents are performing the surgeries.  Make sure you select a good university where you can be secure that it is a well run clinic.  Typically, the fees are a great deal cheaper than a board certified plastic surgeon, but do keep in mind they are learning.

Anna I. Wooten, MD, FACS
Pittsburgh Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Is getting a resident done procedure a good idea?

There are certain things in life where price shopping is okay. I don't feel cosmetic surgery is one of them. Having a bad surgery or unforeseen complications is always a possibility with surgery. Having someone perform the surgery who is not fully trained and could be in a different state after graduation is not a great idea.

Take your time, find a board certified plastic surgeon and wait until you can afford a tummy tuck. Waiting longer for surgery is better than having to go through a revisional surgery.

Ryan Hoffman, MD
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Teaching center

IF you can find a reputable plastic surgery teaching program(NYU come to mind), they likely have a "resident" clinic in which their residents/fellows will see you in consultation, perform the surgery and take care of you post-op. Realize that at any teaching center in the US with a "resident clinic", there always has to be a fully trained/certified plastic surgeon watching/assisting with the cases, from start to finish. People are not monkeys and plastic surgery programs do not let residents experiment on humans. These clinics are typically cheaper than private practice surgeons, how much less, I have no idea in NYC. In NYC, either NYU or Long island plastic surgery group would be good places to call/start, they both have teaching programs, I have not idea if they have resident clinics. Good luck.


Resident clinics are definitely a cheaper way to go.  Your result will probably be fine as the residents generally have some supervision.

Ethan Philpott, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Resident clinic versus a surgeon in practice.

Thanks for your question. 20 years ago I ran a resident clinic where I trained. I'm not sure how many training centers still have resident clinics. In general resident clinics are less expensive in order to give younger doctors experience before leaving their training. As you can imagine that can work both for and against you. If you are comfortable taking that route you will need to find which teaching hospitals near you have accredited teaching programs. The plastic surgery department at that institution should then tell you how to communicate with their residents in plastic surgery. 

Best wishes.

Adam Tattelbaum, MD
Washington DC Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 104 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.