How to Find the Best Plastic Surgeon?

Yellow pages seems like a bad idea for finding plastic surgeon, what can one do to find the best plastic surgeon?

Doctor Answers 16

The Best Plastic Surgeon - Questions to find the best plastic surgeon for you

Recently, my office has been receiving questions about elite credentials.

The following are a few things that can distinguish some surgeons from others

1) Graduating from a top tier medical school at the top of their class.

2) Membership in Alpha Omega Alpha. This is the medical honors society. Alpha Omega Alpha is to medicine what Phi Beta Kappa is to letters

3) Formal surgical training from prestigious medical universities. The minimum number of years of surgical training for plastic surgeons to be bord certified in five years. Some physicians have as many as ten years of formal surgical training. There simply is no substitute for stelar academic and practical surgical training.

4) Very experienced surgeons with meticulous surgical technique and natural looking outcomes will have photgraphic evidence of their work. Patients should be able to view many photos of the surgery of interest, photgraphed from three different perspectives all with similar lighting, distance from the camera and cropping

The elite experience extends beyond the surgeon to the facility, and the surgical team. You should be able to see the surgical theater and know who else will be in the OR with you during surgery. The Joint Commission (JCAHO) is an organization that provides certification to hospital OR's. The Joint Commission and AAAASF are two of the organizations that can provide certification to surgical suites. Some plastic surgeons elect to have their surgery centers dually certified.

The anesthesia experience is critical to a safe and comfortable surgical experience. A board certified anesthesiologist can administer general or MAC anesthesia. My preference is to have a board-certified anesthesiologist at the bedside of my patients for the duration of surgery.

Plastic surgeons who cater to high profile individuals who place a high value on privacy will have a private first floor entrance and exit so patients never need to be in a public lobby or elevator for pre-operative or post operative visits.

When choosing a plastic surgeon it is imperative to select a surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.  Be careful in evaluating physicians whose `Board Certification' is by a `Board' which is not recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), and who belong to an `Academy' that does not require residency training in plastic surgery. Some will claim that they are `double-' or even `triple-board certified', when only one (and occasionally none) of those `boards' are recognized by the ABMS. Visit the ABMS website to see which specialties have ABMS recognition.
It takes just a few mouse clicks to verify a surgeon's credentials online. Make sure that the surgeon or surgeons that you are considering are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and are active members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). ASPS members are also eligible for membership in the exclusive American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS), the premier professional association of board-certified plastic surgeons with a specialty practice in cosmetic surgery

Be confident enough to ask some `difficult' questions. Feel empowered to ask any physician questions like: What are your complication and reoperation rates for this procedure? Has a cosmetic surgery that you performed ever resulted in a lawsuit? Have you had any serious complications and unplanned hospitalizations after cosmetic surgery? Have you ever been disciplined by a state medical board? I am never offended by these kinds of questions, and no competent and qualified surgeon should be. In my opinion it is actually the savvy prospective cosmetic surgery patient who does this kind of `due diligence'.

Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 120 reviews

A Five-Minute Call Can Save You Two Hours and $200

Once you have a list of prospective cosmetic surgeons, make a few two-minute calls. You could save hours and hundreds of dollars. The following checklist will be your outline for a productive, efficient phone inquiry.

Checklist for Telephone Screening Call:

Name of doctor: ________________________________________
Address: _______________________________________________
Phone: ________________________________________________

Questions to ask:

Is the doctor board certified? If the answer is “yes,” which specialty
board? The American Board of ___________________________.

Did the doctor serve a cosmetic surgery fellowship?

Does the practice conduct cosmetic surgery only?

Time out. If, so far, you don’t have at least two “yes” answers, say: “Thank you, good-bye” and go on to the next doctor on the list. That practice was not for you.

What five procedures does the doctor perform most frequently? If what you’re considering doesn’t make the list, say “Good-bye.”

Where does the doctor perform his surgeries? Office? Outpatient surgery center? Hospital? (circle response).

Is office or outpatient surgery center facility licensed by the state, certified by Medicare and/or accredited by JCAHO, AAAASF or AAAHC?* (circle one ormore).

If none of the above, you are courting danger.

Tell the manager your sink is overflowing and hang up.

Robert Kotler, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 87 reviews

Skip the Yellow Pages. Go Straight to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons

It’s a big decision to have plastic surgery. If you are like most people, you have been thinking about this for quite some time. Maybe you’ve been struggling with the concept of doing something that’s just for you. Then, once you’ve gotten to the point that you are ready to go forward, another big decision comes up: How do I find the right plastic surgeon?

This is one of the most important decisions you can make. Your outcome depends greatly on the skill and thoroughness of your surgeon. And your overall experience depends on the quality of your surgeon’s office staff.

First thing's first: make sure any doctor you consult is really a plastic surgeon. This sounds pretty elementary, but it can be confusing. Other physicians and dentists advertise themselves in the Yellow Pages as plastic surgeons, but have no formal training in plastic surgery. Most people are amazed at this fact, and ask, "Isn't there some kind of a law that prevents doctors from performing surgeries they are not trained to perform?" The answer is unfortunately no. The state licenses a physician to practice medicine, but does not limit the doctor to a particular specialty.

Your best bet in finding the right doctor for you, is to make sure he or she is a board-certified plastic surgeon. It is not enough anymore to just ask a doctor if they are "board-certified". As straightforward as this may sound, most doctors are board-certified in some medical specialty. But, board-certified by whom, and in what?

Here are the facts you need to know. There is one overseeing board that regulates the certification of doctors in their specialties: the American Board of Medical Specialists (ABMS). So the American Board of Internal Medicine certifies your internist, and the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery, certifies your orthopedic surgeon and so forth. The only ABMS board that certifies plastic surgeons is the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

Don't be confused by the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, or other boards mentioning plastic surgery. Be aware that these are self-appointed boards without strict training requirements. The American Board of Medical Specialties does not recognize them, and their members are not board-certified plastic surgeons.

Becoming a board-certified plastic surgeon is not a short, or easy process as you might imagine. After completing four years of medical school, plastic surgeons will have a residency of between 6 and 8 years of training in surgery, and in plastic surgery specifically. After completing residency a plastic surgeon is considered “board eligible.” For them to become “board certified,” comprehensive written and oral exams must be taken, and actual cases performed by the surgeon must be reviewed. At that point, they are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, and are true plastic surgeons. But what a bunch of boards and initials! There must be an easier way to find out who’s who. And, in fact, there is.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the ASPS, is the foremost authority on plastic surgery in the world. This is all you have to remember, four letters: ASPS. The American Board of Plastic Surgery has certified every ASPS member. These surgeons must adhere to a strict code of ethics, and participate in continuing education throughout their careers.

You, as a patient, benefit from your plastic surgeon’s vast amount of resources, emphasis on patient safety, and networking with the best plastic surgeons in this country, and across the world.

David B. Reath, MD
Knoxville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 108 reviews

Finding Your Plastic Surgeon

Each person’s expectations associated with their plastic surgeon can be different. Typically, patients want a surgeon who is personable and professional. It is important that you feel comfortable under your surgeon’s care, and that you feel that you surgeon always has your best interest in mind. It is always recommendable that you consult a few physicians before committing to a surgeon, no matter how big or small your procedure may be. In this way, you can find the perfect match and can feel confident in your surgeon’s abilities.

Julian De Silva, MD
London Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 149 reviews

Choosing a plastic surgeon

Cosmetic procedures are now performed by a variety of people. Patients are often shocked to find that their cosmetic surgeon who operated on their breasts was actually primarily trained as an oral surgeon, dermatologist, or even emergency room physician.

Because cosmetic surgery is unregulated there really aren't state or federal laws in place to protect patients to the degree one would expect. This may change in the future.

Make sure they have been trained appropriately by visiting websites like the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, American Academy of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, etc.

Pramit Malhotra, MD
Ann Arbor Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 87 reviews

How to find a Surgeon

Picking a plastic surgeon to perform plastic surgery is an important decision. A good way to find a plastic surgeon is by hearing about others experiences with the surgeon through reviews or word of mouth.  Choose a physician that is board certified in plastic and reconstructive surgery by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Experience with your desired procedure is also very important. Ask the doctor how many times they have performed the procedure. It is helpful to look at the physicians before and after photos and talk with patients from the practice that have had the surgery.
When you come in for your consultation and meet the physician, it is important that the physician is willing to take the time to address your questions and concerns regarding the procedure. The rapport between you and the physician is an important part of your surgical experience. Another important component to the procedure is the facility in which it will be performed. The operating room should be certified by either Medicare, JCAHO or AAAHC. In summary, take the time to familiarize yourself with the process so you can make the best informed decision possible.

Michael L. Workman, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Choosing plastic surgeon

Thank you for your question. I would start by looking at board certification and then visiting couple in your area and see if they are able to answer your questions, address your concerns, and instill confidence and trust. Check out their reviews, photos and how supportive their staff is during the consultation process. Ultimately, you will have to make your own decision on which surgeon to move forward with.

Young R. Cho, MD, PhD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

How can I find a good plastic surgeon? What should I look for?

Take a look at this video answering your question about how one should go about choosing their ideal plastic surgeon.
Good luck,
Dr. Shah

Manish H. Shah, MD, FACS
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

How to find the best plastic surgeon?

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 26 reviews

How to find the best plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills

Considering that there are many great plastic surgeons in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles, it is hard to find the one that is best for you! I recommend that you first look for a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who has had experience the area of your interest. Then review their before and after plastic surgery pictures and see if you can find many example of people that look like you. 
Meeting the doctor and getting the feel for him/her is key, no matter what you read about them in plastic surgery reviews. 

Sean Younai, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 49 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.