Is It Appropriate to Ask One Plastic Surgeon About Another?

I have HMO insurance, and was convinced that the HMO wouldn't cover my breast reduction surgery. So I went out and started interviewing other doctors. Found one that I really like, and was ready to go. Then, low and behold, Kaiser said they would cover the surgery. Saving $10K sounds great, but I can't find out anything much about the HMO doctor, and that makes me nervous. Would it be inappropriate to go back to the private guy (long-time, well-established locally) and ask him?

Doctor Answers 14

Asking one plastic surgeon about another

That's a delicate question. You never know. The private MD may have worked with the HMO doctor and might be comfortable reporting their joint affiliations. It's great that Kaiser has agreed to pay for your surgery However, I would suggest that you call Kaiser and say that, before making a decision, you'd like the names of two other physicians who participate in the HMO. I would be surprised if an HMO as large as Kaiser has only one plastic surgeon. See more than one who participates in your insurance; hopefully, you will feel more at ease at having some freedom of choice.

New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Surgeon selection

Have you seen the HMO surgeon?  If not then do so first.  See what he/she has to say.  Ask how many breast reductions they have done and request to see photos of the results.  You might even  be able to talk to one of their patients.  Be sure to find out if they are board certified.  Kaiser surgeons in general do a lot of breast reductions in my area and thus have a lot of experience.  Once you have seen this other surgeon decide if you need the opinion of the private practice guy.  I always recall what my grandmother used to tell me; "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anythng at all".  If you get a resounding endorsement that's great.  If there is not much said either the private surgeon doesn't know the HMO surgeon or he has nothing nice to say.  As a general rule surgeons try not to trash each other to patients.  It's considered unprofessional.  In the end you will have to make the decision yourself.

Lori H. Saltz, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Surgeon selection

I believe you should interview with several surgeons prior to your procedure.  This will give you the comparison you need to make a decision; no matter what the cost is or is not.  Donald R. Nunn MD  Atlanta Plastic Surgeon.

Donald Nunn, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Doctor's opinion of other doctors

Yes, that is very appropriate. Hopefully the private doctor is as honorable and honest as you believe. However, i would think that a positive would be helpful but a negative one could be biased.

Robin T.W. Yuan, M.D.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Asking one plastic surgeon about another.

My practice understands the economics of insurance based surgical care for the patient.  I understand that it might be necessary for the patient to explore those options through insurance if I did not participate within their plan.  If asked about another surgeon, though, my staff or I would educate the patient as to qualifications and board certification, and the questions to ask another surgeon regarding the procedure.  This helpful disposition may benefit our practice when the patient requests a procedure that is not covered by insurance.

Eric A. Marchant, MD, FACS
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Getting second opinion is different than asking surgeon to comment about other s

If you are comfortable with the plastic surgeon in your insurance plan,then there is no need to ask the other surgeon to give you an opinion about other surgeon. I would recommend to get patient referral, review before and after picture and make sure your surgeon is board certified.

Kamran Khoobehi, MD
New Orleans Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 126 reviews

Definitely worth asking

If you trust and respect the surgeon you have met with – it’s always worth asking.  As physicians, we encourage patients to be advocates for themselves.  That being said, he may not share his personal opinion of another doctor.  We have colleagues we know and think highly of and would certainly share that information.  I would recommend meeting with the HMO doctor and having a consultation.  Always check board certification as well.  Good luck, Dr. Davis

Glenn M. Davis, MD, FACS
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 68 reviews

Choosing a surgeon

Asking one surgeon to comment about another is tricky business! The surgeon with your HMO may be an excellent surgeon who prefers the security of known income. Saving ten thousand dollars to get an inferior result is not a good decision. But  you may disover that you can enjoy the saving and obtain a very good result as well. It may be worthwhile to at least meet the HMO surgeon. Either way, I hope that you have a first rate surgical experience and result!

Ann F. Reilley, MD (retired)
Baton Rouge Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Second opinion, comparing one doctor to another

We think it is appropriate to obtain second opinions, and discuss one view versus another. On this site, and doctors in general are quite used to this, and often gain insights and indeed learn from one another. You should discuss what you have learned from one doctor with another. To be polite you can keep names out, but discuss what has been recommended with the HMO doctor if views diverge.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Is It Appropriate to Ask One Plastic Surgeon About Another?

It never hurts to ask, but as for receiving an answer very hard to predict. If I knew the doctor than I might comment in very general terms. 

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 174 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.