Choosing a Plastic Surgeon — FAQ

Researching your breast augmentation takes a lot of hard work. But it is also important that you take the time to find the most qualified doctor, for their skill and experience will ultimately determine the success of your procedure. Here are some frequently asked questions (and their answers) that will help get you one step closer to finding your perfect surgeon.

Why is it important to have a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS)?

Surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) have had at least five years of residency training in general surgery, plastic surgery and reconstructive surgery. They have all of the required training and knowledge needed to be a plastic surgeon.

It's extremely important to research your doctor's credentials. Unfortunately, many doctors who perform plastic surgery have not had proper training. Some even learn how to perform procedures at a weekend seminar or similar event and aren't board certified. These extreme crash courses in plastic surgery don't qualify anyone to perform the procedures.

My surgeon is board-eligible. Is that just as good as being certified by the ABPS?

No, it's not. Surgeons can claim to be board-eligible for years, while never even attempting to get certification. Please check the board-eligible page for more information.

What is the difference between boards such as the American Board of Medical Specialties and the ABPS?

The ABPS is the only plastic surgery board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). The governing body of each Member Board of the ABMS is comprised of specialists qualified in the specialty represented by the board. The individual Member Boards evaluate physician candidates who voluntarily seek certification by the ABMS. To accomplish this function, the Member Boards determine whether candidates have received appropriate preparation in approved residency training programs in accordance with established educational standards, evaluate candidates with comprehensive examinations and certify those candidates who have satisfied the board requirements.

My surgeon isn't listed on the American Society of Plastic Surgeons site. Does that mean he's not certified?

No, just because a plastic surgeon isn't a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) does not mean that he's not certified. Membership in the ASPS is voluntary, not a requirement. (However, 98% of all plastic surgeons are ASPS members.) To become a member of the ASPS, a surgeon does have to be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

Should I choose a plastic surgeon based on a referral from a friend?

Personal recommendations are great, but you should always verify your surgeon's credentials and his disciplinary history. This should be done prior to scheduling a consult, as you wouldn't want to waste your time and money on a surgeon who may or may not be board-certified by the ABPS, and who may or may not have an immaculate medical disciplinary history.

How do you choose a doctor when all the ones I meet give me similar prices and are board certified?

Choose a doctor who is not only qualified, but who makes you feel comfortable and at ease. Go with the doctor who makes you feel confident in their abilities. Also consider training. If they are relatively new to the field, you may want to go with someone who simply has more experience.

Are ABPS board-certified plastic surgeons able to participate in promotions, such as radio contests, etc.?

No, they are not. Many radio stations have contests in which breast augmentation (or some other type of plastic surgery procedure) is the prize. This goes against the ABPS code of ethics. The majority of the time, surgeons donating their services as a prize are not board-certified by the ABPS.

For more tips on how to select a qualified plastic surgeon, click here.

Updated October 2016

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