How to Pick Your "Cosmetic Surgeon"

The single most important decision a patient makes when deciding to undergo cosmetic surgery is the choice of your "cosmetic surgeon". Unfortunately, almost any licensed physician (or dentist in some states) can perform cosmetic surgery in his office without any formal training.

Medical boards have little jurisdiction over office based surgery so it is up to the public to be well informed. Much confusion and misinformation exists in the media regarding how to find a well trained and qualified surgeon to perform your cosmetic surgery. The following guidelines will help you find a surgeon who is right for you.

  1. Make sure your surgeon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). This is the only recognized board to certify surgeons in both cosmetic and reconstructive surgery of the entire body (and face). Other boards may sound similar but there are is only one ABPS. Call the ABPS directly at 215-587-9322 to verify your surgeon's board certification.
  2. Be certain your surgeon is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). The ASPS was established in 1931 and is the oldest and largest organization of board certified plastic surgeons in the US and world.
  3. Whatever cosmetic surgical procedure you are considering, make sure your surgeon has privileges to perform this particular procedure in an accredited local inpatient hospital. This ensures you are under the care of a board certified plastic surgeon who can handle any complication that could arise and has been approved by a credentials committee of his peers in the community.
  4. Ask your surgeon how many times he has performed the operation you are considering and how many years he has been in practice.
  5. Ask your surgeon to speak with other patients who have undergone similar operations.
  6. Ask to see his before and after photo book to examine his results.
  7. Make sure you have a "connection" with your potential surgeon. He should have excellent people skills, answer all your questions, and demonstrate confidence and compassion. You should like him or her.

The process to find a qualified plastic surgeon for cosmetic surgery may sound complex, but it is rather straightforward once you have done your homework. It will be the most important step you take to ensure the best possible outcome in your cosmetic surgery outcome.

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