What kind of certifications should I look for in a plastic surgeon?

I am looking into getting a mommy makeover in 2017. What type of certifications should I look for in a plastic surgeon…whether they are a doctor in the US or located internationally? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much.

Doctor Answers 24

Certifications For a Plastic Surgeon?

The certification that you should be looking for is Board Certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. This is the only true original board for certification in Plastic Surgery with the highest standards for education and training, and the most rigorous written and oral examinations to achieve certification. It can be very confusing at times for patients because there are a number of other so called "boards" in Cosmetic Surgery, but there are no actual accredited programs for training in "cosmetic surgery". These boards have been invented by surgeons who have not had true training and education in plastic surgery (often being originally trained in Ob-Gyn or Oral surgery), but who are attempting to re-invent themselves as cosmetic surgeons.

Outside of the U.S. each country will have it's own standards and certifications, but the American Board of Plastic Surgery is truly considered to be the "gold standard". While there are excellent plastic surgeons throughout the world most would agree that the greatest number of excellent surgeons and the highest standards are in the U.S. Patients will sometimes look to have procedures outside of the U.S. in order to save money, but there a number of flaws in that decision process. First, if one has to travel a good distance one needs to add in the costs of flights and accommodations to really get a fair comparison. Also in places where the costs are truly lower, the standards for surgeon training and certification are much lower, and the standards for ancillary staff (nurses) and facilities (OR centers) are also much lower. This translates into higher error and complication rates. Another factor that patients fail to consider is post-operative care. In the U.S. it is fairly standard for a Real Plastic Surgeon to include at least six months of post-operative care in the cost of the surgery. This is one reason why costs are lower when traveling abroad because they are not providing this important post-operative care for a long period. If you have surgery abroad and have a complication and then have to return home, the costs of getting that care can exceed several times over the original cost of the surgery.

There are a number of very well qualified and highly regarded plastic surgeons in the area where you live. A mommy makeover is a significant operation and not one that is easily performed far away from home. There would be little reason to travel abroad for this combination of procedures. I have included a reference to a patient on this site who has had a highly unsatisfactory experience with her surgery that was done for less money in a another country.

Plastic Surgeons: Ask for us by name

Thank you for this most important question. Plastic surgery is an intricate art and science. It is also a lucrative field. And, as a result our communities are inundated by non qualified physicians who have no business in doing plastic surgery. From fake boards to outrageous claims the consumer is left confused as to how to proceed. Although, personal research and meeting is important, the first step is to make sure that your plastic surgeon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Any other board and any other "qualification" is simply not valid. The American Board of Medical Specialties has designated many legitimate boards and the American Board of Plastic Surgery is one of those. Boards such as American Board of Cosmetic Surgery is simply not a legitimate and valid qualification and is used by rouge practitioners to lure patients. Enclosed is a link that really describes the importance of our training and qualifications. Good luck and thank you for this important question.

Sepehr Egrari, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

What board certification means for mommy makeover patient

Certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery is the gold standard. There are many legitimate-sounding boards but none require the degree of training and testing that the ABPS does for plastic surgery of the breasts and body. It's a big operation and if you choose to go overseas there is the issue of follow-up care and how any complications that might occur later would be handled. If you do go overseas find a surgeon who is a member of ISAPS.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

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What to look for in finding a plastic surgeon

Thank you for your question. You should find someone who is certified by The American Board of Plastic surgery. No other. Many "fake" boards have similar wording, so be careful. Surgeons on this site have been screened to ensure that they are properly board certified. You obviously, would not want to go to a general surgeon, dentist, or facial plastic surgeon to do your MM. 

Kind regards,

Gary M. Horndeski, MD
Texas Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 210 reviews

Plastic Surgery Certifications

Seek a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. This certification reflects years of plastic surgery training and thousands of surgery cases, followed by days of oral and written exams administered by a American board of certified plastic surgeons.  Although many surgeons with other specialities may perform plastic surgery,  they do not have the American Board of Plastic Surgery Certification.

Also review on their websites the "before and after photos", feedback from former patients, and the surgery center certifications where the surgeon operates.  The precautions they take to prevent infection and protect the safety of the patient are of utmost importance.

Board Certification is a must

Thank you for your question.  I agree with what has already been said below.  In the US, the gold standard is the American Board of Plastic Surgery.  There are many legitimate sounding, but "fake" boards out there, so buyer beware.  The ABPS is the only true certifying body for well trained plastic surgeons in the US.  There are significant training requirements and exams necessary to be board certified.  There are similar certifying bodies in other countries, with many well trained plastic surgeons outside the US.  Keep in mind, if you travel outside the US for surgery, you may want to recover there for awhile to minimize risks of complications once you return home. One other certification to look for is whether or not your surgeon is a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), indicating expertise in the field of cosmetic surgery.

Good luck

Board certification

Find a surgeon you are comfortable with who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. You can certainly find a great surgeon in the Seattle area. Just go to at least three consultations and ask as many questions as possible and view as many photos as possible. Also check their online reviews as well.

Best wishes,


William Bruno, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 339 reviews

What should I look for in a plastic surgeon?

Look for a plastic surgeon certified by the "American Board of Plastic Surgery".  There are many boards out there masquerading as plastic surgery boards so beware.  Ideally, your plastic surgeon should also be a member of ASAPS, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.  This will ensure that they're active in aesthetic plastic surgery.  Additionally, your plastic surgeon should have an accredited surgical suite and have privileges at a nearby hospital.  Be sure to look at before and afters, reviews and interview several surgeons before you find the one you're most comfortable with.  Good luck!

Zachary Farris, MD, FACS
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Best mommy makeover surgeon

This is a fantastic question! When choosing to have plastic surgery, it is very important to find the most qualified surgeon to perform your procedure to make sure it is not only safe but also provides the best results. 

I have put together a guide to my Top 5 Tips For The Best Mommy Makeover Results (the link is below) to help patients like yourself navigate the crowded world of Mommy Makeover surgeons. Here are few tips from the guide:

-Find an experienced & skilled surgeon-

Mommy Makeovers are becoming very popular procedures, so it is vital that you find a board certified plastic surgeon who is qualified to perform all of the different procedures you want to ensure you have a safe and successful surgery. Once you find a surgeon who is qualified to perform your Mommy Makeover, you should schedule a consultation. At the consultation, you should ask your plastic surgeon to show you several before and after pictures of other patients he has performed Mommy Makeovers on. This will show you the surgeon’s level of skill and ability to perform several procedures to create your ideal body. We also recommend you google the surgeon’s name and see reviews from other patients and make sure the vast majority of patients have had nothing but a fantastic experience with the surgeon.

-Get the most out of your consultation-

You are already researching Mommy Makeovers since you are here on RealSelf, so that is a great start! We find that the patients who have taken the time to research the different Mommy Makeover procedures they are interested in and plastic surgeons online before coming in to the office are very prepared for their consultation.

Click the link below to read the rest of the guide!

Jimmy S. Firouz, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

How to choose your plastic surgeon

  • In Canada certification is less an issue than the USA.  Everyone that trains in Canada is either qualified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons Canada or they are not.  The differences may be in the specialty. Everyone gets FRCS(C) after their name.  It does not denote if they are a plastic surgeon, general surgeon, otolaryngologist (sometimes refer to themselves as facial plastic surgeons). Make sure to ask!  Some GPs still do cosmetic surgery but this is getting less common do to safety regulation changes a few years ago. They will have CCFP after their name.
  • The next most important thing after identifying that your prospective surgeon is a plastic surgeon is to evaluate their reputation.  This can be done by asking friends, your family doctor and looking at different review sites. 
  • Finally, go and meet them.  Make sure that they make you comfortable, that they take time to discuss your specific needs, that they will see you more than once rather than rushing you to pay and that they will consider your surgery and your result their highest priority.  Even great surgeons have cases that need to be touched up. Make sure that you feel they will be their to support you after surgery and after they have received payment.
  • Dr Rodger Shortt strives to be the best plastic surgeon.  He is one of very few plastic surgeons in Canada with a top 5-star rating on Realself, RateMD, and Ontario Doctor Review.  He is an Assistant Clinical Professor and the Director of Cosmetic Surgery Training for McMaster University.  He serves patients from the GTA including Toronto, Oakville, Mississauga, Georgetown, Brampton, Burlington, Milton, and Hamilton.

Rodger Shortt, FRCSC
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 52 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.