What Main Things to Go by in Picking the Right PS?

I'm having a very hard diffucult time on making my final decision in picking a PS to perform my BA and lift. The most important thing to me is of course baord certifications/Credential etc , area of expertise/speciality and bedside manner. This goes with the office staff as well. I must feel comfortable with everyone involved. What should one do, look for, and go by in finally narrowing it down and choosing the right PS?

Doctor Answers 22

How to Pick the Best Plastic Surgeon for You

When all other things are equal, you like the doctor, like the staff, the doctor is competent and board certified, you should pick the doctor who you think understands your concerns, explains clearly what they recommend to be done and why, and what they say makes sense to you. If you have had several consultations, and done research on the procedure, spoken with friends or the doctor's patients who have had a similar procedure,you like the doctors before and afters, you are that much closer to making a decision.
I sympathize with you because this is not an easy decision. I would advise you to put the question of cost last. Perhaps if you have found two doctors either of which would be a good choice and you want to choose the one that costs less, that is fine, but if you can try to find the doctor who you think will give you the best shape, the best healed or concealed incisions, and a comfortable and normal recovery.

Mountain View Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Picking "Dr. Right" - Guiddlines to pick the best plastic surgeon

The following are the screening guidelines and criteria I recommended to pick the best plastic surgeon – 
1. Board Certified Plastic Surgeon by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
The American Board of Plastic Surgery  is the only certifying board in Plastic Surgery that is a member of the American Board of Medical Specialties. Use the listed links to look up a perspective surgeons status.  To become a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery requires that a minimum of 5 years of surgical training with a minimum of 2 years of training specifically in plastic surgery was completed. Then the applicant must also pass a comprehensive written board exam. If successful then the candidate must present his clinical cases for critical review by his board examiners (I was one such board examiner) and if accepted will take a series of oral examination. Since the 1990’s, the American Board of Plastic Surgery Certification is only valid for 10 years.  To retain your board certified status, the plastic surgeon must complete a Maintenance of Certification including written testing and case review. This means that all who pass are trained and experienced in all plastic surgery procedures including facial procedures, breast, body, and reconstructive procedures. If a Plastic Surgeon is in addition (not instead of) board certified by another surgical specialty recognized the American Board of Medical Specialties then this also marks additional expertise and training at the highest level. The American Board of Facial Plastic Surgery for example is not recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (although it does note additional specialty training/interest in facial aesthetic surgery). Likewise, beware of physicians with certification from non-ABMS recognized boards (eg. “cosmetic surgery”, “liposuction”. “ etc.
2. Fellow of the American College of Surgeons “FACS” (or the equivalent in Canada  by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. “FRCS”).
The American College of Surgeons is dedicated to improving the care of the surgical patient and to safeguarding standards of care in an optimal and ethical practice environment. Members of the American College of Surgeons are referred to as "Fellows." The letters FACS (Fellow, American College of Surgeons) after a surgeon's name mean that the surgeon's education and training, professional qualifications, surgical competence, and ethical conduct have passed a rigorous evaluation, and have been found to be consistent with the high standards established and demanded by the College To be a member you have to be board certified by in a surgical specialty recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties, be in practice in one location for a number of years, with a background check, nomination, and interviews which verify that you are an ethical and safe surgeon among other criteria. Hint – Look for the “FACS” or “FRCS” after the “MD” in a doctor’s title or in his CV/Resume to see if he/she is a “real surgeon”.

3. Member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS)   The American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the largest organization of plastic surgeons in the United States, and one of the largest in the world.  ASPS members uniquely qualified  because of its membership requirements:  Members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons must be Board Certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery complete at least 5 years of surgical training with a minimum of 2 years of training specifically in plastic surgery. The more years of Plastic Surgical Training the better – this includes fellowships in a plastic surgical field. American Society of Plastic Surgeons members are required to adhere to a strict code of ethics and must fulfill rigorous Continuing Medical Education (CME) requirements including patient safety issues. Lastly, ASPS members are required to operate at accredited  surgical facilities certified by one of the following USA organizations:  American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgical Facilities, Inc, Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, Inc, or the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations.
Beware of physicians belonging to similar sounding societies as their claim to excellence eg. “American Society of Cosmetic Surgery”, “Liposuction Society of North America”. “etc.

4. Member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS
This is the most elite society if the United States for Aesthetic Surgery. . To be a member means that your career is focused in cosmetic surgery at the highest level. Among the requirements for invitation and election to ASAPS membership, a plastic surgeon must:
• Be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or, in plastic surgery by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada;
• Be in at least the third year of active practice following board certification;
• Participate in accredited Continuing Medical Education (CME) to stay current with developments in the field of cosmetic plastic surgery and patient safety;
• Document the performance of a significant number and variety of cosmetic surgical cases to demonstrate wide experience;
• Be sponsored by two ASAPS-member plastic surgeons to help ensure that the applicant's professional reputation meets the high standards required by ASAPS;
• Adhere to current ethical standards for professional conduct as outlined in the Code of Ethics observed by all ASAPS-member surgeons;
• Operate in accredited surgical facilities; and
• Be elected by at least 80% of the Active Membership.

5.  Verify that your surgeon has hospital privileges to perform the same type of surgery
Hospitals often restrict their privileges by internal review to only those surgeons trained to do these procedures or actively do them on a regular basis by examining  qualifications of individuals applying for hospital staff privileges.  For order  surgeons to be granted  plastic surgery privileges in most hospital in Orange County California for example, that surgeon must have completed plastic surgery residency training and must be board eligible or certified in plastic surgery to be allowed to perform plastic surgical operations in that hospital. The reason this is important as non surgeons and other physicians that are not plastic surgeons circumvent this process by performing surgery in their offices or in outpatient surgery centers where the credentialing process is less rigorous or non existent.  In these settings non plastic surgeons perform procedures in which they have no formal residency training.  Beware
6.  Surgical Experience in the procedure you are having
This goes without saying but few patients ask how long they have been doing these procedures or how many they have performed. Looking at typical before and after photos, discussing the details of the procedure in a manner that is clear to you,  reviewing benefits and  potential complications, along with full answers to your  question.
7. Evidence of Excellence,  Experience  and Commitment to the field of Plastic Surgery –  Here is a partial list to support this:
Surgical Board Certification in more than one field, Plastic Surgical Fellowships in addition to Plastic Surgical Residency. Number of years practicing.
Peer Review Honors in their own board certification from groups such as  Best Doctors, Top Doctors, Super Doctors. Current or Prior position denoting excellence in the field or high regard by their peers such as: Prior or present - Professor or Faculty affiliation with a University Plastic surgical program, Chairman of a Department of plastic surgery at a regional hospital, honors from surgical societies they are members of, Board Examiner, etc. Published Plastic Surgical papers in peer review journals are also a good sign that they are committed to being on top of their field.                          

Feel Comfortable with your choice – It is very important that after you have done this screening and met with your potential surgeon that you feel confident in your choice. Complications are not common in cosmetic/surgery but if one did occur is this the surgeon you would want and feel confident that he would take charge and be able to handle just about any problem that came his or her way? Do you feel that he listens to you and communicates well by answering your questions completely, doesn't rush you in to a decision but rather makes you part of the decision making process and you truly feel it is a combined effort. Does his office run smooth and are you taken care of by his staff?  If you answered to the affirmative and have gotten this far in your screening guidelines then I think you have found the “Dr Right” for you.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 154 reviews

Choosing a plastic surgeon for BA

If you have narrowed it down to a short list and all the plastic surgeons are certified, credentialed, great staff, bedside manner, experience, great before and after results, etc...my recommendation is that you chose the one you felt you got along with the best, the one who listened to you the most, the one who you feel is on the same page with you about getting the results that you want.

I hope this helps. Good luck!

J. Jason Wendel, MD, FACS
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 182 reviews

Board certified plastic surgeon with experience

I think the most important thing to look for first of all is a board certified plastic surgeon which speaks to the training of the doctor; however, it does NOT necessarily mean that particular doctor is well versed in breast surgery.  So I also think it's important to review cases with that doctor and get a sense that that particular plastic surgeon has significant experience in that area, such as breast augmentation and lift together which is a very complex procedure when done together.  Also I think you want someone that incorporates some of the newest technologies and techniques into his/her practice.  Finally, after all of that, a doctor-patient relationship is very personal and you as a patient are placing trust in the doctor and their staff/team and you have to feel good about your choice.  So I recommend seeing several board certified plastic surgeons and getting several opinions and you'll know when you've made the right decision.  I hope this helps!


James F. Boynton, M.D., F.A.C.S.

James F. Boynton, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Choosing your Surgeon?

I think you have touched on the “main things to go by in picking the right plastic surgeon”.  At this point your choice should be made by asking yourself the question:  which surgeon  do you feel can  deliver the results you are looking for?

Some general words of advice for patients just starting the process of selecting a plastic surgeon....

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.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,488 reviews

Picking the right doctor

When you're getting medical treatment, you deserve to have the best care. First of all, make sure your surgeon is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. There is only one Plastic Surgery Specialty group approved by the American Board of Medical Specialties and that is the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

Beyond credentials and experience (particularly extensive experience in performing breast lift and augmentations, or whatever procedures you're considering), you'll want to feel comfortable letting this person into your life. Does the surgeon inspire confidence as an honest and ethical person? Ask about the surgical team. Are they highly specialized and experienced? Are the anesthesiologists board certified? And consider the office staff. Do you feel they're caring and compassionate? And go ahead and ask about post-op during your consultation. Will you have direct access to the surgeon following surgery?

Plastic Surgery is unlike other medical specialties in that the scientific preparation and talents of the physician are used to create beauty rather than treat disease. This means you, the patient, should ask several questions to yourself and the surgeon. You should feel at ease when asking these questions, because you want to be as informed as possible when you want to change something about your body.

Spend some time in front of the mirror fine tuning exactly what it is you want. You already have a vague idea of the area you want changed, just get very specific about it. Doctors thrive on details, and the more they know the better they'll be able to address your goals. In today's multicultural world, beauty has many definitions. Make sure the plastic surgeon understands your goals, listens to your needs, and explains the various surgical techniques that he can use to achieve your goal.

There are many well trained Board Certified Plastic Surgeons, and you should pick the one you feel most confident with, should any problems arise or should you need emotional support.

Ricardo L. Rodriguez, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

Finding the Right Plastic Surgeon

To answer this question from the Plastic Surgeon side is interesting but here is what patients have told me.  First, the appearance of their website says a lot about the surgeon.  For instance our website has warm colors and a gentle tone that is totally in sync with our office appearance and feel.  Everything flows.  This goes to the surgeons artistic feel and how he wants his patients to feel in the practice.  Check the before and after pictures.  I'm amazed at the number of poor results.  To me this means the surgeon doesn't know what a good result is.

Next, does the surgeon work with you instead of directing you?  My approach is to educate the patient and help guide them as they make decisions.  With this approach my patients don't experience any surprises.

Finally, if everything is equal then you just have to trust your heart.  We all know when we've make the right decision because it just feels right.  So trust yourself, you'll make the right decision.

Christopher L. Hess, MD
Fairfax Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Finding the Right Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

Sounds like you have done your homework and you are definitely on the right track. I would recommend that you have at least 3 consultations or more until you find the surgeon you are comfortable with. If you have any friends that have had the procedure done, ask if they are happy with their results and their surgeon. When having a consultation be sure to see lots of before and after pictures, ask if you can speak to a couple of patients. If the surgeon has a private surgery center, make sure it is accredited and ask for a tour. Look to see if it is clean and organized. Good luck.

Miguel Delgado, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Picking a plastic surgeon

The criteria that you have enumerated are exactly the important ones to consider. Make sure that he/she is board certified in plastic surgery as the term "board certification" can also be used in deceptive ways (that is, they are "board certified" but not by the American Board of Plastic Surgery"). The plastic surgeon's bedside manner, how he/she and the staff relate with and to you are extremely important. You may get vibes by just listening to other patients in the waiting room.

It isn't always an easy decision to make and there is never any guarantee with regard to results. Good luck! 

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Looking for a plastic surgeon

I think that you hit the nail on the head.  You want a board certified plastic surgeon who performs the surgery that you desire. You want to make sure that you like the surgeon and feel comfortable with him/her.  You also want the staff to be avialable and knowledgable as well.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 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.