Choosing a Doctor for Breast Implants

What about past issues w/ medical board? Does a full schedule and higher prices mean a surgeon does good work? I have decided to get breast implants. I am deciding between 2 plastic surgeons. The first is about 1.5 hours away. He has very nice before and after photos. The problem is I still haven't met the doctor and the office says I'll meet him on the day of surgery, or I can request a meeting before surgery, but they made it seem like this was unusual. I asked my gynecologist and she agreed that the plastic surgeons in my immediate area didn't do great natural looking implants but she suggested looking on the medical board website. The first doctor has a public record that has caused me concern. The issues were several years ago and he can pratice now but I have a bit of doubt about him. The second doctor is about 2 hours away. His before and after photos are beautiful and he has a good record with the medical board and My OB gyn knows a few people who have traveled to see him for surgery who have been happy. The problem is I want breast implants for a vacation soon and his schedule is full for 2 months. His prices are also quite a bit higher than the other offices I called in my state and the one other I visited. Is there really that much difference between plastic surgeons and their results? If I bring his photos to another doctor do you think they could give me the same result?

Doctor Answers 19

Choosing the Right Plastic Surgeon for Breast Augmentation

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Take your time selecting a plastic surgeon to perform breast augmentation.  Look at many, many before and after photos. Too often people think of breast augmentation as a "simple" surgery.  In order to provide a truly natural looking result significant expertise is required.

Check the credentials of your plastic surgeon, the facility where plastic surgery will be performed, and the team that will be providing support before, during and after surgery. 

Most patients want to have the fullest breast profile that still looks natural on their body. The limiting factor for implant size is almost always the appearance of the upper pole. At some implant volume, the upper pole of the breast begins to look excessively rounded or convex, and that is a look that says "breast implants live here". Surgeons who are attentive to detail use an O.R. table which allows them to sit a patient upright several times over the course of the procedure, so that an implant size and profile can be selected that is ideal for each individual patient.

Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 123 reviews

There is a big difference between doctors

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Make no mistake, plastic surgery is as much or more art than science. No two doctors will give you the same results even if you bring them photos of exactly what you want. It is worth traveling for and paying for the best. That being said though, it would never be good to go to a doctor whom you hadn't met for a consultation well before the surgery. Probably you should make the trip to meet the best doctor, decide if he's the right one for you and schedule to come back for the surgery. Go have a nice vacation without the implants and do them when his and your schedules permit. Implants aren't an emergency and should be done when there is no time pressure.

Do your homework when choosing a breast surgeon

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
There are many ways to make sure the plastic surgeon you choose is the best one in your area. Definitely check his credentials; it is important he is a board certified plastic surgeon. Go to his website and do some research. You should be able to find patients testimonials after the procedures. Look at the before and after pictures. Call his office to schedule the consultation with the doctor. Talk to his patient coordinator to find out as much as you can about the physician and his practice. Schedule the meeting with the surgeon which gives you the opportunity to see how comfortable you feel with that provider. Ask for the chance to talk to some patients who has undergone the breast augmentation surgery.

Go to the doctor who is busy for two months.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Of the choices you have, the answer is obvious. This doctor showed you good results. Your gynecologist knows he has happy patients. And the facts that he is busy and can charge more in this bad economy tell you he has a good reputation.

There can be a huge difference in results from one surgeon to another.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

Breast augmentation is a complex surgery

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Breast augmentation is so common that most people, and doctors, assume it is a very simple procedure. In some respects, considering what procedures plastic surgeons are trained to do, it is quite easy technically. However, the decision-making process is very involved and you should be sure to spend plenty of time one-on-one with your surgeon, not a nurse or business consultant, going over your options, your anatomy, your goals, the trade-off (there are always short and long-term tradeoffs), side effects,and complications.

You will have to decide on incision ( usually periareolar, transaxillary, inframammary, or, in some practices, transumbilical), location of implants (subgalndular versus submuscular), type of implant (saline versus silicone), style (round or shaped, smooth or textured), and size (various dimensions according to base width and various profiles or projections). Each choice will effectively change your risks, side effects, and results. As you can see, each patient might have dozens, if not hundreds, of options to choose from as each variable is changed. Surgeons who won't spend this time with you are doing you a disservice. And time will often mean money is terms of higher fees. Choose wisely.

Photos can help communication between surgeon and patient but may not be directly transferable from one patient to another. Photos are also not infallible as they do not show movement and do not indicate if the patient is happy or not, or achieved her goals or not. It might be more informative to ask to speak to former patients about their experience and results.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

Picking the right surgeon is critical

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

There is not doubt that plastic surgeons vary in their skill level, experience, judgement, and bedside manner. It's important to spend some time well in advance of your surgery talking with your surgeon, and you should not feel pressure from him in regards to a timeline for your procedure.

Before and after photos are important, as is his training, standings with medical boards, and reputation, but just as important is to establish a solid doctor-patient relationship. It's critical that the surgeon understands what YOUR goals are for your breast enhancement and tailors your procedure to these goals, not his own-- this can't be done without spending some time getting to know the surgeon.

Remember, it's your body and your future-- invest not only your money, but your time, wisely.

Best of luck!

Dr. Salemy

Shahram Salemy, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 155 reviews

Thoughts on How to Choose a Plastic Surgeon for a Breast Augmentation

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Trying to decide on a surgeon for a procedure that is not emergent can be a daunting.  In addition to checking for board certification on the ‘surgeon finder’ on sites like the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery or the American Society of Plastic Surgeons there are some important things to look for when selecting a surgeon.  Do not be in a rush.  Besides looking at before and after photos, look at the surgeon’s website and YouTube channels to get to know the surgeon’s you are considering seeing.  Read the reviews and look to see if they have a philosophy for their surgery that fits your personality and cosmetic surgery goals.  Ask yourself if the surgeon is an educator and thus interested in getting all of the information possible to their patients so that their patients make an informed choice.  An in depth review of their website should tell you that.  And finally, do not hesitate to see at least a couple of surgeons or as many as you need to until you are comfortable with your decision.

I have added a video about breast implants that should give you some information that can help in your search.  I have also added a web reference about recovery that may also help you develop questions for your consultations.

I hope this helps and if it does please take a moment to up vote this answer with the "respond" button on the top right.

Best regards.

Brian Windle, MD
Kirkland Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 64 reviews

Choosing a doctor for breast implants?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
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 28 reviews

Choosing plastic surgeon?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Thank you for the question.  It is actually very unusual NOT to see your surgeon prior to the day of surgery.  Office visits help the communication process between the surgeon and patient.  This communication is critical in achieving the outcome that you are looking for.  Please be careful with your surgeon selection. Anyone considering plastic or reconstructive surgery should consider consulting a board certified plastic surgeon to achieve the best and safest results possible. Physicians who are considered board certified hold a certification with the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). This certification proves that the surgeon has graduated from an accredited medical school, has completed a residency of at least five years, has three years of experience in general surgery, is actively practicing plastic surgery for at least two years, and has passed mandatory comprehensive and written examinations. These surgeons are referred to as diplomats of the ABPS and have fulfilled the following requirements.  
It is in the patient’s best interest to choose a board certified plastic surgeon. It is vital to your safety and the success of your cosmetic surgery that the surgeon you choose has the right qualifications, ample experience, and documented results of his or her work. ABPS diplomats have extensive skill and experience in a wide range of plastic surgery procedures.
There are a number of advantages in choosing a qualified and highly experienced plastic surgeon to perform your cosmetic surgery. If there are any complications during surgery, an experienced plastic surgeon will be more adept at handling the situation. In addition, a plastic surgeon that has performed many cosmetic surgeries will have had more time to perfect his or her technique and results.

Reputable plastic surgeons should have privileges to perform cosmetic surgery procedures in the operating room at an accredited hospital, not just in the surgery center in their office. They work with a highly skilled team including, board certified anesthesiologists, nurses, and technicians to enhance patient comfort and to provide a peace of mind to the patient’s and their families.
During your consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon, ask to see before and after photos of actual patients who have undergone cosmetic surgery. The surgeon may provide you with a list of patients you may speak to as a reference for the doctor. To enhance your education regarding the surgeon, you may be introduced to some post-op patients as well during your visit with the surgeon. Most patients are willing to share their experience regarding their surgeon, the staff, hospital, and recovery. 
Professional doctors will ensure realistic expectations and take the time to address your concerns. They will provide you with honest advice and encourage you to do your homework, talk to other patients, and make an informed choice. One of the most important factors in choosing a plastic surgeon is your personal comfort level with the doctor. You should feel comfortable asking questions about your cosmetic surgery procedure so that you can make an educated final decision on whether you would like to proceed with surgery. I hope this helps.

Don't rush your breast augmentation

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Won't see you until surgery. Strike one. Medical board record. Strike two. Staff that makes you feel awkward about seeing the doctor before surgery. Strike three. Making a hasty decision based on vacation plans. Strike four?

Beachmom, you will have many more vacations on which to enjoy your breast implants. Make sure they are done well by choosing a good surgeon, and more importantly, are done safely, so you have them to enjoy on those vacations. Don't rush into something that you might regret. Good luck!

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.