Which Licenses - for the Surgeon and Surgery Center - Should Prospective Patients Look for when Researching?

for a plastic surgeon? I've noticed that some surgeons aren't the operating managers of some surgery centers. How do we consumers find out of the surgery center is also licensed by the state of California?

Doctor Answers 6

License and accreditation of surgeon and surgery center to look for

There are many different state regulations depending on the state the surgeon practices in.  Most surgery centers have a license and that can be looked up through the state medical boards.  Surgery centers are also certified by one of four different accrediting agencies, Medicare, AAAASF, AAAHC, or JCAHO.  All of these certifying bodies are an acceptable form of quality assurance. 
All physicians are required to have a state medical license in each state they practice medicine, and can be looked up through the state medical boards as well.  For facial plastic surgery procedures look for a board certified facial plastic surgeon.

Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 145 reviews

Good Question!

Acceptable accreditation for Cosmetic Surgery in the USA is generally through the Joint Commission (JCAHO is the past acronym term), AAAHC, AAAASF or through your own state accreditation system.  The properly trained Cosmetic Surgeon receives their initial board certification through the 24 member American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), e.g., ABS, ABOto, ABPS, ABD, ABO, ABOG, etc.  Thereafter, a properly trained Cosmetic Surgeon will successfully train, examine and practice Cosmetic Surgery to achieve Diplomate status within the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS).  The ABFPRS is the board relevant to Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery.  The more training and boards that a surgeon masters bodes well for his patients.  For example: I am a Diplomate of the following four medical boards: the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS) with CAQ in Body/Breast/Extremity/Face, the American Board of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery (ABFPRS), the American Board of Laser Surgery (ABLS) with CAQ in Cosmetic Laser Surgery, and the ABMS American Board of Otolaryngology (Head & Neck Surgery).  The American Board of Anti-Aging & Regenerative Medicine (ABAARM) is another outstanding board that is vital to the progress of Cosmetic Medicine and I am currently working on achieving this board certification.  It is important to know that no one specialty owns "Cosmetic Surgery."  Choose Cosmetic Surgeons who are honest and who are fully trained: with a ton of experience!

Robert Shumway, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Chose a surgeon who has been trained in rhinoplasty and has experience. Surgery should be done in accredited OR.

Both plastic surgeons and ENT surgeons are trained in rhinoplasty (not "cosmetic" surgeons).  Make sure your surgeon does the operation with some regularity.  Make sure the surgery is done in an accredited center preferably with a state license.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Accreditation and Licensing For Plastic Surgery

The surgery center and the surgeon have separate credentialing   

The surgery center should be accredited by either





JCAHO was the first accrediting body but initially it only worked with inpatient (hospital) facilities.  As the number of out-patient surgery centers skyrocketed these centers desired a process to ensure their safety.  AAAHC was developed to fill this need followed by AAAASF.  Since that time, JCAHO has instituted and outpatient program.   AAAASF is endorsed by the Plastic Surgery Society while AAAHC is endorsed by the Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.  In short, all 3 bodies do a fine job and are universally recognized by the various medical specialties.


The surgeon would be board certified in one of a few different fields depending on the details.  The American Board of Plastic Surgery and The American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery would be the two main ones.  Depending on what you are having done, an occuloplastic surgeon, oral surgeon, or dermatologist may also be qualified.

Louis W. Apostolakis, MD
Austin Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Which Licenses - for the Surgeon and Surgery Center - Should Prospective Patients Look for when Researching?

Your surgeon needs to be licensed to practice in the state where your procedure will be performed. You can lookup license status on your state's medical board website. You cna also lookup disciplinary history, if any exists, on that same website. You also want to find a surgeon who is board-certified in their specialty. This is another sign that they are well trained and have undergone residency and fellowship training and have passed both written and oral board examinations. I hope this information is helpful.

Stephen Weber MD, FACS

Stephen Weber, MD, FACS
Denver Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 129 reviews

Surgery Center and Board Credentials for Plastic Surgery

Every operating room should be certified by a recognized outside agency. Do not be afraid to ask about certification.

Look for one of the following agencies:






For the surgeon- make sure they are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.


Some but not all ENT doctors take extra training in plastic surgery and are qualified to work on the face.

Any other certification than those listed above may be compromising your safety.






Michael Suzman, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 28 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.