Help! Just Found out my ''plastic Surgeon'' is Not Board Certified

I already put down $1,000 & I have my surgery scheduled. I've been thinking about a tummy tuck for a couple years,& visited this same doctor 2 years ago. At the time his receptionist told me he was a board certified plastic surgeon. When I looked online it said board certified, but I just found out that it only says board certified next to optamologist and not plastic surgery. I found about 8 reviews on him and they were all really bad. I don't know what to do but I don't want to lose my 1,000.

Doctor Answers 16

"Plastic surgeon" is actually an ophthalmologist!

Thank heavens you have obtained this information prior to proceeding with surgery! I know that the vast majority of Board-certified ophthalmologists would be aghast at what their "colleague" is doing--they properly practice within their training and expertise, not in a self-designated field completely different from their training and certification in Ophthalmology. As you have found out, being Board-certified is not enough--you need to know Board-certified in WHAT.

Also, by way of full disclosure, you should know that the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery is NOT an ABMS (American Board of Medical Specialties) member board. This "board-certification" is often used by physicians trained and Board-certified in other specialties who wish to practice cosmetic surgery without full training and American Board of Plastic Surgery certification.

Please do not feel awkward at all in asking for a complete refund (even if they have a stated "cancellation policy"). If complete and prompt refund is not obtained, lodge a formal complaint with the state medical board, and consider small claims court. This kind of unethical behavior reflects poorly on all of us who are properly trained, board-certified in our respective specialties, and practice within our training and experience boundaries! We share your chagrin and outrage!

Please read my article on "Why Board-Certification is Critical when Choosing a Plastic Surgeon" linked below.

I am proudly Board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (certificate 3770, November, 1989), and I do not perform cataract surgery or strabismus operations!

Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 255 reviews

Non board certified plastic surgeon to perform tummy tuck

It would be my advice not to undergo an abdominoplasty with a surgeon who is not board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

Your discovering this fact now may be the cheapest $1000 you ever spent.

If their office represented to you they were board certified plastic surgeons and they are not, you may request your money back.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 177 reviews

I went to a plastic surgeon for a tummy tuck but I found he is an ophthalmologist?

Board certification has a meaning, only if you know what board you are talking about. There is only one plastic surgery board that is approved by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) This board is called  American The Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS)

Any doctor can claim that they are bourd certified. YOU CAN FIND ALL KINDS OF BOARDS that are not approved by ABMS. You don't even need to be a specialist. All doctors take the board of medical examiners to practice medicine. So every body is board certified!! Today the consumer of plastic surgery services has to be really smart and educated to know who is who.

I hope this was helpful is you still have questions and something is not clear let me know.

Good luck.

Farhad Rafizadeh, MD
Morristown Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Tummy Tuck by Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

Ash, am glad you did your research before your surgery. It would have been better to do the research before the appointment. As you probably know, any licensed physician can claim to be a cosmetic surgeon. This is because Cosmetic surgery is not a medical specialty by ABMS, but a part of Plastic surgery. Always look for a Plastic Surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

In terms of your deposit, I would suggest discussing this with the physician and requesting a refund. If you have complications from your surgery, it may cost you more than $1000.

Good luck and tell all your friends and family not to make the same mistake.

Stanley Okoro, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 161 reviews

Board Certified plastic surgeon for tummy tuck

Tummy tuck is not a simple plastic surgery procedure. Those plastic surgeons who are board certified have to not only show experties and experience in plastic surgery but also sound judgement. There are two reasons why a plastic surgeon is not board certified. Either they are very early in their practice and have not yet taken their boards, or that they were not able become board certified. Each one of this factors are important in making your decision with respect to safety and expected outcome of your tummy tuck.

Sean Younai, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Surgeon misrepresented his credentials and you should get full refund of deposit for a tummy tuck

Fortunately, you discovered this "deception" prior to surgery - something many others have not been so lucky to find out about. It is very common for non-plastic surgeons who are performing plastic surgery to misrepresent their credentials in order to "close the deal", a practice which is unethical. Finding that all of his reviews were bad further supports this issue - to your benefit.

You should be able to demand that you get your entire deposit back. If he balks, tell him that he and his staff misrepresented his credentials and that he is not a plastic surgeon. You can also threaten to report him to the Arizona Board of Medical Examiners (Bomex) - which should further motivate him to return your entire deposit.

Good luck

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

Special circumstance

Sounds like you can appeal to him to return your money.  He may not.  I would report him to the Department of Professional Regulation in your state for misleading and deceptive practices.  I would also report him to the Better Business Bureau.

All the best,

Tal Raine MD FACS

Talmage J. Raine, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Help, my plastic surgeon is not board certified?

I'm glad you discovered this prior to your surgery.If he is board certified in ophthalmology there's a good chance that a tummy tuck was not one of the procedures he/she was trained in during the residency. You can go to the plastic  surgery website and look up his name and certification. You should be able to get your money back based on deceiving information given to you. If there's loss of trust, do not have your surgery with this surgeon. If your money is not refunded, I would procede with a letter to the attorney general's office of the stare regarding false advertisement and endangering public safety. Good luck! 

George Marosan, MD
Bellevue Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Board Certification

It is hard to tell from your question, but are you saying that you were going to an ophthalmologist for a tummy tuck / abdominoplasty and you are surprised that they are not board certified in plastic surgeon?  I am quite certain that most people would not go to an ophthalmologist for a tummy tuck.  Just as most people would not go to a plastic surgeon to have their vision tested.  It is good that you researched the doctor, but it might have been more prudent to do the research before putting down a deposit on surgery.


Good Luck.

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Tummy tuck

If he is an ophthalmologist, I would not have him do my tummy tuck. Tha is like having an internist do your brain surgery when you should be going to a neurosurgeon.  Go find a board certified plastic surgeon on the ASPS or ASAPS website that works in your area.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 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.