Is my Surgeon Safe? Not Much Info On Him or His Practice?

I have decided to have a TT and have a consultation with a surgeon next week. I was able to find a surgeon that could meet with me right away and schedule the procedure to take place within 2-8 weeks however I wasn't able to find much information about his practice or credentials online. He works from a private clinic and from what I read patients are sent home after surgery. Is this safe? Also he had a patient die 2 weeks post surgery which is probably why there is a shorter wait list to see him.

Doctor Answers 10

Trust Your Instincts & Research

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If you have reservations about your selection, then consider consulting with another surgeon. The surgeon you are describing may be completely competent, but if you do not have faith and confidence in your choice, it will affect the relationship.  All the best.

Important to research your plastic surgeon prior to surgery

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An abdominoplasty is a major cosmetic surgical procedure and it is your responsibility to perform the necessary due diligence to determine your surgeons qualifications.  There are many things that would cause immediate concern.  Make sure that he is a member of The American Board of Plastic Surgeons and is Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.  The American Board of Plastic Surgery is the only board that certifies plastic surgeons.  Certification by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery is a red flag in my opinion.  Make sure that your surgeon has privileges to perform this same operation at a local hospital, if he does not this is also a red flag.  The hospital is the only local organization that credentials physicians to perform plastic surgery or any surgery for that matter.  The American Society of Plastic Surgeons requires that all members, if they operate in an office surgical center, be certified by one of 3 nationally approved organizations.   If it is not this is not the case it is another red flag.  Check with your state's Medical Board, they usually have a web site and you can find out if there has been any type of disciplinary action taken against the doctor.  Always ask for recommendations from your personal physician or other trusted friends or individuals.  Any plastic surgeon will be glad to review their qualifications and experience level with you.    If your surgeon meets these criteria then more than likely you are in good hands.   

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Surgeon safe or not?

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The kind of concern in your question should make you to take a step back and think carefully. Regardless of the nature of intended surgery, you must do your homework or if any doubt contact the governing body in the country where you reside to check your surgeons credentials. A safe bet is to ask your own family doctor or GP for advice. Being referred by your own family doctor remains a gold standard in my opinion followed by personal recommendation from a trusted friend who has had a SIMILAR procedure. Good luck. Dr Sultan Hassan

Sultan Hassan, MD, FRCS(Plast)
London Plastic Surgeon

Get the Low Down

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You should be able to gain that sense of safety from your consult.  Ask him about those specific incidents.  Ask his staff about his certification and ask him.  Prior to your appointment go to the websites of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, American Board of Plastic Surgery, American Board of Medical Specialties and your local state medical board to see if he is board certified and if he has any disciplinary action(s) against him.

Good Luck

Dr. ES

Safety of Surgery

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There are a few red flags in your question. First, you should be able to find out about your surgeon. He should tell you his qualifications whether you ask or not. If he is board certified in Plastic Surgery he will be listed at, and usually at  You should also be able to find information on the clinic where he works. If this is where the procedure will be, this facility should be fully certified to provide you as safe an experience as possible. The surgeon should also have privileges at a hospital to perform the procedure. If not, then there is some question as to his qualifications to do it. If all patients are sent home, this could indicate that he has no hospital affiliation. A patient who dies 2 weeks after surgery usually does so from either infection or a pulmonary embolus. While these problems could happen to any surgeon's patient, this is quite unusual and may indicate either a lapse in sterile technique, failure to take preventative measures against leg blood clots (patients having a tummy tuck are at higher risk for blood clots and pulmonary emboli) or a failure to recognize the problem when it arose and was treatable. Either way, choosing a surgeon just because he fits your schedule can potentially put your life at risk. Make sure the surgeon is fully qualified to do the tummy tuck and that the facility is fully certified, even if you have to change your time frame.


Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon

Fully investigate the plastic surgeon before undergoing an abdominoplasty.

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In abdominoplasty is a physiologically significant operation. It should be performed by board-certified plastic surgeon who has experience doing it. If you have a friend in the medical business, particularly a physician, have them check out the reputation of that surgeon amongst his peers. Make sure he has credentials to perform the procedure in a hospital so that he has cleared it can review process.

Qualified Surgeon

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I commend you for actually asking this question.  So many times I see patients in my office for revisional surgeries and when I look into who their previous surgeon was, I find out all kind of horror stories.  Very simple, there are so many amazing and qualified BOARD CERTIFIED PLASTIC SURGEONS, that there is NO reason to go to anyone else. SO that means COSMETIC surgeons are NOT PLASTIC surgeons.  Unfortunately for patients the world of aesthetic surgery has been increasing dangerous and confusing.  Patients always ask how can someone who isnt trained do cosmetic surgery?  They think that some special government agency is watching over them and the answer is NO.  Basically if you have an MD you can do whatever you want so long as you are in a PRIVATE surgery center.  Hospitals require credentials but surgery centers do not.  Therefore, ask your doctor directly are you a PLASTIC SURGEON?  Then are you BOARD CERTIFIED?  If they say yes the final question is, are you BOARD CERTIFIED in PLASTIC SURGERY?  That is because you can have a board in one specialty, say general surgery or ENT, and not have one in plastic surgery and theoretically you are board certified.  Bottom line is patients today need to be vigil and not be afraid to ask questions. 

I hope that helps

Dr Rahban

Rady Rahban, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 142 reviews

Always Check Surgeon's Credentials

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You should always be aware of your surgeon's credentials and qualifications.  With aesthetic surgery, the most important credential is certification by the ABPS.  Members of ASAPS also tend to have more interest and experience with cosmetic surgery.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon

Do your homework

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Board certification is clearly important and as stated above, American Board of Plastic Surgery is THE ONLY certifying organization of "Real Plastic Surgeons".  I would encourage you to meet with him.  Often "rumors" that you may hear are not true or sensationalized and is very unfair to the doctor.  Plastic Surgeons train for a very very long time and most are quite capable.  In spite of what Hollywood, the Media and other doctors websites my imply...there is only minor quality differences between ABPS docs. 

Just remember....things that you see on the internet are simply advertisements and can be a little misleading. 

K. Dwayne Fulks, MD
Chattanooga Plastic Surgeon

Checking a surgeon's credentials

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You are to be congratulated for doing your homework about your doctor's credentials in advance. The most important one is whether he is board certified by a board that is a member of the American Board of Medical Specialties and that board is the one for the surgery you are considering. For plastic surgery that would be the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Your state also has a medical board and you should be able to make sure that he is licensed and whether there are any complaints against him. If you have a regular doctor, you can ask him or her for referrals. You can also check and see if he has privileges at a local hospital for the procedure you are considering. If he does, you can be sure that the hospital has checked his credentials pretty thoroughly. In the long run it is far better to wait a few weeks for an appointment than rush into something that may cause problems in the future.

Margaret Skiles, MD (retired)
Sacramento Plastic Surgeon

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.