The Cleveland Clinic

Choosing a Surgeon

Before you decide to pursue cosmetic surgery, seek the balanced opinion of a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Obtain as much information as you can about the procedure, discuss your questions and expectations with your surgeon and carefully evaluate the credentials of the physician and hospital (or outpatient surgical center) before you proceed.

This planning will help make you comfortable with your decision. Talk to friends or family members who may have undergone similar cosmetic surgery. If you don't have friends or family members who have undergone similar procedures, ask your surgeon to recommend some of his or her current or former patients who have had the same procedure you've selected.

Talking to former or current patients also is a good idea to get a gauge on your surgeon's personality and methods.

How Do I Choose a Qualified Surgeon for Cosmetic Surgery?

Follow these tips when making your selection:

  • Board certified is often better. Select a physician who is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Why? This means that the physician has completed specialized training in cosmetic surgery and has passed rigorous written and oral examinations to earn certification.
  • Experience counts. How long has your surgeon been performing this procedure? Is he or she using the latest technique? Has the physician obtained special training in the use of this technique or new technology? How many procedures has the physician performed? In general, the more experience the physician has in performing a certain procedure, the better the results.
  • Communication is crucial. Do you feel comfortable being open with your surgeon? Have your questions been answered? Have you been informed of possible risks, side effects and recovery time associated with the cosmetic surgery?

Reviewed by the doctors at The Cleveland Clinic, Department of Plastic Surgery.
Edited by Charlotte E. Grayson, MD, Sept. 2003.
Portions of this page ©The Cleveland Clinic 2000-2003.


Last Editorial Review: 1/31/2005 7:05:10 AM