TT by Residents vs Attending MD at local Universities/Hospitals, what are the pro's and con's?

What are your thoughts on patients having cosmetic surgery thru local Univ/Hosp by the resident docs? Pros and cons? Thank you for your time. You all are amazing!

Doctor Answers 6

TT whether performed by attending or resident at University teaching hospitals : Pros and Cons

The residents in our hospital have to be supervised at all times. The attendings are there throughout the procedure usually operating from the right side while the resident performs the same procedure on the Lt and the process is more or simultaneous operating which has the major advantage of speeding up the procedure and limiting anesthetic time. This also reduces the cost as the OR charges are based on time. The less the time on the table the better the wound closure as well. The residents are learning first hand as well.

Hope this is adds to your understanding of what can happen.

Dr K Dolynchuk

Manitoba Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Pros and Cons of Resident doing TT Surgery

The main pro would be a reduction in cost. The main con would be that the resident is going to have less experience than the attending which could affect your result. If I were you, I would do some research to determine how much the attending surgeon will be involved if the resident does your tummy tuck.


Kouros Azar

Kouros Azar, MD
Thousand Oaks Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

TT by Residents vs Attending MD at local Universities/Hospitals, what are the pro's and con's?TT by Residents vs Attending MD at

The single positive would be the reduced fee. If the resident is closely supervised by an attending during the procedure, there would be little negative other than the operation taking a bit longer. But if the attending is not actively involved in the decision making including the preop planning and lines drawn on you as well as all the operative steps, you will have a very different result than you would get from the attending. 

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Are university teaching clinics safe?

OK, I am biased. I am a full professor at UCLA. The Plastic Surgery Resident Teaching Clinic is staffed by residents and closely supervised by faculty surgeons such as myself. The fees are much less than in private practice and a special low rate has been negotiated with the hospital's top notch day surgery facility as well as with Anesthesia. 

The faculty surgeons have busy private practices and do this on a purely volunteer basis.

The resident performs the case with the faculty member assisting. It may take a little longer than if the faculty member were the primary surgeon; but not always. The effect of this is negligible.

I would say that the quality of the result would depend more on the skill and judgement of the faculty member than on the resident. 

This is the best kept secret in Plastic Surgery. Don't tell everybody or you will put me out of business!

J. Brian Boyd, MD
Rolling Hills Estates Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Tummy tuck by resident...

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.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,498 reviews

Surgery done by a resident, not a fully trained plastic surgeon?

Thank you for asking about your tummy tuck.

  • A great question - and the answer is it depends on the quality of the program, the hospital and the residents.
  • UCLA has an excellent (although expensive) hospital and excellent residents and attending surgeons.
  • The pro is that your surgery costs less.
  • The con is that your surgeon - the resident - will take more time to do the surgery and is unlikely to do it as well as s/he will after doing lots and lots of tummy tucks.
  • If the cost is the major factor for you - yes. Chances are your result will be fine, maybe very good.
  • If the result and experienced care is more important than cost - go to to an experienced, fully qualified plastic surgeon.

Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Best wishes  - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

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