Finding a Plastic Surgeon: 7 Frequently Asked Questions

Updated on: October 3, 2018

Updated September 2018

Researching breast augmentation is a lot of hard work, but finding the most skilled and experienced doctor ultimately determines the success of your procedure. Here are some frequently asked questions (and their answers) that will bring you one step closer to finding your perfect surgeon.

1. 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 for professional practice surgery.

It's extremely important to research your doctor's credentials. Unfortunately, there are many doctors who perform plastic surgery who do not have 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.

2. 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, but never even attempt to get certified. Please check the board-eligible page for more information.

3. 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, 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.

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

Just because some plastic surgeons aren't members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) does not mean that they are not certified. Membership in the ASPS is voluntary, not mandatory (however, 98% of all plastic surgeons are ASPS members.) Consequently, a surgeon has to be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery in order to join the society.

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

Personal recommendations are great, but you must always verify your surgeon's credentials and his disciplinary history. Do this 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.

6. 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.

7. Should I trust plastic surgeons who participate in promotions, such as radio contests, etc.?

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.

Find the best plastic surgeons near me

Need help finding the right plastic surgeon in your area? Start here with our network of board-certified breast augmentation surgeons. Just type in your city, state or zip code, then we'll give you a list of surgeons in your region. Check out their complete profiles and websites, then schedule a breast augmentation consultation.

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