We are continually confronted by beautiful, sexy
advertisements promising “perfection” in cosmetic
surgery. How then does one go about choosing the
“right” plastic surgeon?
It is very important that you pay less attention to the
ads and more attention to the training, credentials and
experience of the surgeon. Any plastic surgeon you
consider should be board certified by The American
Board of Plastic Surgeons (ABPS) and a member of The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).
Add an artistic and aesthetic eye for beauty, form, and
balance, and the right board-certified plastic surgeon is
not only your best choice-it should be your only choice
when choosing a doctor to give you the safe, beautiful
results you deserve.
Choosing the right Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon:
Keep in mind these basic principles when you are
shopping for the right surgeon:
1. Verify credentials and training. Many “cosmetic”
surgeons advertise they are “board-certified” when in
fact it may not be clear which board they are certified
with. Any physician is allowed to perform plastic
surgery procedures even if they haven’t completed any
plastic surgery training!
Board certification with The American Board of Plastic
Surgery (ABPS) verifies the surgeon has completed a
combination of at least five years of residency training
in the field of general and plastic/reconstructive surgery
and has been rigorously tested in his/her area of expertise.
Additionally, it ensures that the plastic
surgeon has earned his/her degree from an approved
2. Find out how many years of experience the surgeon
has. True familiarity with multiple aesthetic procedures
takes many years of training and practice to perfect his/
3. Check with the appropriate medical board in your
state to see whether the surgeon is licensed and whether
disciplinary action has been taken against him.
4. Ask for references from trusted family physicians or
other doctors knowledgeable about the local medical
community. “Word of mouth” is a powerful tool.
5. Don’t feel pressured to agree to more than you want.
Ethical plastic surgeons will give you options on which
procedures may give you the best results based on your
desires and concerns, but always remember the final
choice is yours.
6. Reputable and qualified plastic surgeons should
have privileges to perform cosmetic/plastic surgery
procedures at an accredited hospital since they adhere to
a strict code of rules and guidelines.
7. Ask your plastic surgeon to show you before and
after photos of patients who have undergone the plastic
surgery procedure you’re considering.
8. Make sure the surgery center where your surgery
will be performed is accredited, and that the person
rendering anesthesia is properly certified.
9. Believe in your own instincts. A qualified, experienced
plastic surgeon should be available to listen and address
all your questions and concerns. Plastic/cosmetic
surgery by a qualified surgeon can have an enormous,
positive impact on your life and self esteem. Do your
homework, believe in yourself, and never be afraid to ask
for assistance in achieving all you desire and deserve.
Dr. Burr von Maur is certified by The American Board
of Plastic Surgery and is an active member of The
American Society of Plastic Surgery and The Aesthetic
Plastic Surgery Society. He has spent 24 years in the
field of plastic and reconstructive surgery and served as
Chief of Plastic Surgery at Mission Hospital.