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 26

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.


Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

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.

Braden C. Stridde, MD
Kirkland Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 53 reviews

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


Matthew H. Steele, MD
Sioux City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 86 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 54 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 20 reviews

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
4.6 out of 5 stars 223 reviews

Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon

Before having cosmetic surgery, it is essential for patients to do their research and ensure they are in the safe hands of a board-certified plastic surgeon. Patients can verify their surgeon is board-certified by referring to the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) website. The ABPS is the only board that certifies plastic surgeons. Membership with the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) is also something to check, as this demonstrates that a plastic surgeon has an aesthetic focused practice. Having good standing at local hospitals and accredited surgery centers is important as well. Good luck in your research!

Jerome H. Liu, MD
San Jose Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Being certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery is important.

This is a very important question, so thank you for asking it. When considering your options before choosing a plastic surgeon, it’s essential to ensure that you check for board certification. Here in the United States, the board in question is the American Board of Plastic Surgery. You may also find it helpful to get personal recommendations wherever possible. Best of luck with your mommy makeover when the time comes.

Lee B. Daniel, MD
Eugene Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 17 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.

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 496 reviews

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,

Dr.Bruno

William Bruno, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 381 reviews

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