Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Plastic Surgery

Last Editorial Review: 7/12/2005

If you're thinking about getting cosmetic surgery, it's your job to become an informed consumer. Selecting a qualified doctor, with a lot of training and experience in the procedure you'd like to get, is essential.

Ask the right questions to get the best treatment:

  1. What state is the doctor licensed to practice surgery?
  2. Is the doctor board certified? With which board? The doctor should be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
  3. What training did the surgeon have after medical school? Was it plastic surgery?
  4. How many surgeries of this type does the doctor perform each year?
  5. How many years has the doctor performed this type of surgery?
  6. What hospital can the doctor admit patients or work in? You'll want to know in case of an emergency. You can also check with the hospital for the surgeon's credentials.
  7. If the doctor operates in his or her office or ambulatory health care facility, is it accredited? Check with the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities or Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, Inc. to find out. It can mean a higher standard of care.
  8. Does the doctor have life-saving equipment and monitoring devices?
  9. Who administers the anesthesia? Ideally, this person is a board-certified anesthesiologist or certified registered nurse anesthetist.
  10. What are the risks of the procedure? How often do they happen? What does the doctor do if they happen?
  11. What is the expected recovery for the procedure you're having?
  12. Check with the state medical board for complaints or malpractice suits against the doctor.

Check out your doctor's credentials

If you're thinking about having your surgery in the doctor's office, there are advantages and disadvantages. The office might be convenient, private, and have more amenities than a hospital or ambulatory care center (non-emergency, outpatient facility). But it may not be safe. Don't assume that the doctor has the right credentials or the right equipment to keep you safe in the office.

In many states, a ny doctor with a valid medical license who's in private practice can legally perform surgery. So some doctors are doing surgery outside of their specialty, like an eye doctor performing breast implant surgery. Depending on the state, doctors in private practice don't need to meet the same legal requirements as a hospital or accredited ambulatory care center for surgery or anesthesia services.

It's also important that if you choose to go to an ambulatory care center, that it's accredited. Contact these organizations to find out your doctor's education, licensure, and board certification in addition to the doctor's or ambulatory care center's accreditation:

Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, Inc. (AAHC)
: 847/853.6060
Internet :
Accredits physician offices with surgical facilities.

American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF)
: 888-545-5222
Internet :
Certifies ambulatory surgery facilities and provides practice guidelines for surgeons working in ambulatory surgical facilities.

American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS)/ The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS)
All of the surgeons listed through this service are ASPS members who are board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. They have graduated from an accredited medical school and completed at least five years of surgical residency, usually three years of general surgery and two years of plastic surgery .
: 888-4PLASTIC
Internet :

Federation of State Medical Boards (FCVS)
FCVS verifies medical education, postgraduate training, licensure examination history, board action history, and identity.
Phone : 888-ASK-FCVS
Internet :



An average adult has about ________ square feet of skin. See Answer

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