What do you think about choosing a plastic surgeon not yet board certified and only in practice 1 1/2?

Everything I read is to have a board certified plastic surgeon perform your plastic surgery, What about a doctor who is a potentially a candidate for board cerfification and just entered private practice about 1 1/2 ago?

Doctor Answers 15

What do you think about choosing a plastic surgeon not yet board certified and only in practice 1 1/2?

There is nothing concerning about this scenario. It typically takes a couple of years to become board certified after entering practice. You're essentially choosing a board eligible physician with only 1.5 years of experience. If you trust this surgeon and like their results, you should delve deeper and figure out how much training they've had in your procedure of interest and how many procedures of that type they have performed as the sole surgeon. Not cases where someone looked over their shoulder and told them what to do but how many times they've performed that procedure on their own without assistance. I hope this information is helpful.

Stephen Weber MD, FACS

Denver Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 129 reviews


I would want to see some before and after pictures. Also discuss openly with the doctor how long procedure will take. You do not want a 12 hour face lift. He or she may also have a senior partner or colleague help which is fine. We all tend to get better the more we do of any procedure. I certainly thank my early facelift patients who trusted me. I know I did the best job I could and took my time and went the extra mile to give them great results. Good Luck

Gregory T. Lynam, MD
Richmond Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Choosing Your Surgeon

During your consultation with a board certified (or board eligible) 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.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,503 reviews

What do you think about choosing a plastic surgeon not yet board-certified and only in practice 1 1/2 years?

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 fellowship...it 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.  It takes nearly 2 years for a plastic surgeon to obtain board certification as there is a series of written exam, case collection, and finally oral exam, which takes approximately this time period to succesffully complete all steps.  

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 26 reviews

Board Certification Is Only 1 Piece of the Puzzle

This is a great question. Certification by a nationally recognized board is an important addition to any doctor's CV. However, for a doctor to become board certified, he or she needs to have a few years of experience under his or her belt. There are some extremely talented young surgeons out there who aren't yet board certified. If you're considering one, take a look at his or her before-and-after photos and read patient testimonials. Be sure to review your surgeon's CV, too. Check that he or she graduated from an accredited medical school and is licensed to practice medicine in your state. A board-certified surgeon may be your best bet, but it's certainly not your only option.

Thomas McNemar, MD, FACS
Stockton Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Board Certification

Consider having one procedure and not multiple procedures with the new surgeon. Every Plastic Surgeon has to start some where. Be sure you are open with him with your concerns.

Robert E. Zaworski, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 62 reviews


I would avoid it. Having said that, I work in a country where you can't operate without being board certified. It's a bit scary in the US that a non-certified physician can operate on people. I think common sense would suggest that you find a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in your area.


Asif Pirani, MD, FRCS(C)
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

New doctors

Being one of them at one time, I can't say anything negative. If they are good at what you want done (can see photos or talk to patients), have a good revision policy and office staff, is responsive to patient needs and the price is more then competitive, you can get a good result. Numbers of cases do contribute to ones wisdom over time but if your doctor assures you he/she will be with you for the whole journey, certainly consider it.

Curtis Wong, MD
Redding Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Board Certification

Every plastic surgeon starts this way.

If you have confidence in the surgeon and his/her training, go ahead.

For your first operation, it's best to have one procedure, not multiple ones at the same time.

Elizabeth Morgan, MD, PhD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Choosing a Surgeon 18 Months In To Private Practice

This is a very good question. Based on my 12 years in practice since fellowship, it suffices to say that time and experience give a Surgeon great perspective on what works and what doesn't. I am certainly much happier with my results now compared to 2001. That having been said, a Surgeon who isn't very talented at 33 isn't going to become magically talented at 45. I was certainly very condfidenrt in my abilities when I started and many younger Surgeons possess great talent and skill.

Stephen Prendiville, MD
Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 96 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.