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~Rebecca, Plastic Surgery Patient Advocate

How to Avoid Bad Plastic Surgery

Plastic Surgeons

Avoid Bad Plastic Surgery Check List
Importance of Board Certification

Research Links, 800#s & More
State Agencies
International Agencies
Research Your Surgeon's Facilities
Legal Help

Rebecca, Plastic Surgery Patient AdvocateAvoid bad plastic surgery by avoiding bad plastic surgeons because you'll be looking at their work for the rest of your life. I created this site to help patients find the best plastic surgeons and avoid bad plastic surgery. The following is what I would advise my mother, my daughter or my best friend on how to obtain the best plastic surgery results.
~Rebecca Cat Kidder, Plastic Surgery Patient Advocate Since 1997

Plastic Surgery FAQ

Avoid Bad Plastic SurgeryHow to Avoid Bad Plastic Surgery Check List

___ Make sure surgeon is Board Certified by American Board of Plastic Surgery
___ Consult with at least 2 or 3 different certified plastic surgeons
___ Research your surgeon (read the rest of this page)
___ Ask about your plastic surgeon on the forum
___ Search your plastic surgeon's last name on the forum
___ Google your plastic surgeon's name
___ View your surgeon's before/after photos, particularly befores similar to your own
___ Bring photos of what you'd like to look like
___ Make sure the surgery center is accredited

Board Certification: US - Canada - Verify Certification

Importance of Board Certification - United States

Although there is no way to ensure good plastic surgery results, the following is the best way to avoid bad plastic surgery when considering a body contouring procedure, such as lipo, tummy tuck or breast surgery. The #1 thing you want to research is to make sure your plastic surgeon that is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). How do you find our if you surgeon is board certified by American Board of Plastic Surgery? Call your surgeon's office and ask if the surgeon is "Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery." If they say, "They are certified by... something else" then they are not certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). American Board of Plastic Surgery qualifies a plastic surgeon to perform plastic surgery of the body such as lipo, tummy tucks and breast surgery as well as cosmetic facial procedures. Do not confuse the American Board of Plastic Surgery with any other similar sounding board, although being certified in other boards in addition to board certification from the American Board of Plastic Surgery is acceptable when considering any body contouring procedure such as breast surgery, tummy tuck or lipo. Read more about the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) here.

If you are contemplating facial plastic surgery only, you can consider an ABPS board certified plastic surgeon or an Otolaryngologist (also known as ENT, Ear Nose & Throat specialist) certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology as they are qualified to perform cosmetic procedures of the face. Mom, whatever you do, do not allow an ENT or any non-ABPS certified doctor to perform any procedure below the neck!

Do not let a surgeon's office tell you the doctor just moved from another state and they are waiting for transfer of their certification. Certification is a Federal Exam and is good in any state.

Board Certification - Canada

When considering a body contouring procedure, such as lipo, tummy tuck or breast surgery, you want a plastic surgeon that is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) and/or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

American Board of Plastic Surgery

The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) qualifies a surgeon to perform both body and facial procedures. The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) which is expressly designed to provide public protection through quality control in medical education states the "ABPS is the only one of the 24 ABMS member boards providing certification in the entire field of plastic and reconstructive surgery from head to toe. Board certification assures the health care consumer that the surgeon completed at least five years of approved surgical training in plastic surgery and the surgeon has successfully completed extensive written and oral examination testing in the entire field of plastic and reconstructive surgery of the entire body. The ABMS is the umbrella organization which represents the 24 member boards and upholds standards for resident training and testing leading to certification." ~American Board of Plastic Surgery

Do not confuse the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) with any other similar sounding board, although being certified in other boards in addition to certification from the ABPS is acceptable when considering any body contouring procedure such as breast surgery, tummy tuck or lipo.

The American Board of Plastic Surgery was organized in 1937 by representatives of various groups interested in this type of surgery and received recognition as a subsidiary of the American Board of Surgery in 1938. The American Board of Plastic Surgery was given the status of a major specialty board in May 1941 by action of the Advisory Board for Medical Specialties as approved by the Council on Medical Education of the American Medical Association, which has designated certain specialty fields as being suitable to be represented by specialty boards.

About our Member Plastic Surgeons

Because we educate mostly breast surgery, liposuction, tummy tuck and other body contouring procedure patients, we require our member plastic surgeons to be board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. To help you avoid awful plastic surgery and the dangers of plastic surgery, I have personally checked the qualifications of our member plastic surgeons and most have been recommended by site visitors that used them for their own plastic surgery procedures. In fact, our member plastic surgeons meet higher standards than those of any other referral service as we only list select plastic surgeons to be in our plastic surgeon directory. Our plastic surgeons must also maintain that standard in order to remain in our surgeon directory. All my personal friends that didn't go with a plastic surgeon I recommended did not have good outcomes. Many patients have wrote me about their bad plastic surgeon and their bad plastic surgery experience. I would list "bad plastic surgeons to avoid" if I could. Unfortunately I would get sued. So, I can only list the good plastic surgeons. There are over 5000 ABPS certified plastic surgeons, and of them only a small percentage are invited to join our member surgeon directory.

Plastic Surgery FAQ

Plastic Surgeons vs. Cosmetic Surgeons

Most non-certified doctors refer to themselves as "cosmetic surgeons" and refer to their practice as a cosmetic surgery practice and most American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) certified surgeons refer to themselves as plastic surgeons and their practice as a plastic surgery practice. However, there are exceptions. For example, Dr. Chiaramonte's office is called Bella Cosmetic Surgery, yet he is an ABPS certified plastic surgeon. Mom, remember, when researching for a plastic surgeon be sure your surgeon is an ABPS certified plastic surgeon (see Certified vs. Non-certified below).

Certified vs. Non-certified

Many Ear Nose & Throat (ENT) doctors (Otorlaryngologists), some Dermatologists and OBGYNs and even dentists perform plastic surgery procedures such as breast augmentation and liposuction and they are far from qualified to do so. Most are not even board certified in general surgery, no less plastic surgery. Certification for doctors performing breast surgery and other body contouring procedures, such as liposuction or tummy tucks, should be in plastic surgery, NOT cosmetic or facial surgery. Although being certified in cosmetic surgery, facial surgery, general surgery or Otorlaryngology in ADDITION to their plastic surgery certification is acceptable. Be very careful, there are many other unqualified doctors out there looking to make big bucks by offering plastic surgery procedures, usually at a discounted rate which could cost you your health, bad results, complications, additional surgery and more money in the long run for reconstuction surgery.

I cannot stress how important it is to make sure your surgeon is certified by the ABPS when considering plastic surgery on the body, such as lipo, tummy tuck or breast surgery. In the 11 years I have been researching breast augmentation outcomes and the surgeons who performed them, not many breast augmentations surgeries had a bad outcome. However, of the bad results, half the time surgery was performed by a doctor that was not certified by the ABPS. Considering only 10% of licensed doctors are not board certified by the ABPS, that means 50% of the time non-certified doctors encounter problems, vs only .05% of ABPS board certified plastic surgeons. Mom, I do not advocate flipping a coin with your body or your health.

Doctor Research Links, 800#s & More

International Agencies - State Links - Legal Help


How to Check-Up on Your Plastic Surgeon

Beware of doctors who just moved from out of state (not only is it harder to track records but they may have lost their license in another state). Those fresh out of residency are less likely to have any complaints, but they also have less experience. However, they may be more up to date and knowledgable of newer techniques than their older comrades. Lastly, just because a surgeon is older does not mean that s/he has been practicing medicine for a long time. There is no age requirement for attending medical school.

Federation of State Medical Boards - Disciplinary actions since 1912 from international licensing authorities including Canada, England, Australia and New Zealand. $9.95 Searches Public Records for $1, if there is information found, it will cost an additional $9.95 to read it. Several visitors found alarming information about their surgeon here, this could be very worth while and the initial investment is only $1.

County Courthouse: In the county where the doctor practices, look up cases under his name. It is important to pull up the file and find out exactly what the cases are about. If the doctor has been in practice for a long time, the more likely they may have been sued. Also, it is not always because of any wrong doing, but because they are also an easy target for lawsuits. Surgeons have the highest number of lawsuits. Some plastic surgeons may have lawsuits due to the alleged problems of silicone.

Medical Board: Call to inquire about the complaints filed against your doctor. A filed complaint means a patient was unhappy enough with the service they received to complain to the board. Sometimes "Letters of Concern" were sent to the doctor from the Board. The "Letters of Concern" are a warning if the doctor doesn't change, further actions will be taken. The doctor could have their certification removed, or license suspended or revoked. Keep in mind that for every complaint, there are others that didn't bother to write and complain. I have some listed below.

Department of Insurance in your state. Trish, a paralegal, suggests contacting them. They should have a listing of all the closed claims and you should be able to check to see if your plastic surgeon had any claims filed against him. You can also hire a private investigator, since they know exactly where to find information. Trish also suggests calling top malpractice lawyers in your area and asked if they ever sued the plastic surgeon.

Department of Professional Regulations can check for any pending claims.

Forum Message Board: Many people discuss their experience with their surgeons. You can do a search on a surgeon's last name or ask on the forum if anyone had used that surgeon. The search works best if you only search one word.

International Agencies

State agencies below

British Association of Plastic Surgeons

British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons

Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
IPRAS - Worldwide International Plastic Surgeon Directory Locator

International Confederation of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery

USA, Canada, England, Australia and New Zealand Federation of State Medical Boards - Disciplinary actions since 1912 from international licensing authorities. $9.95
Australia The Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons

State Agencies
If your state is not listed, check the Federation of State Medical Boards,
Administrators in Medicine and Addition Resource Links

Alabama (Look Under "Plastic Surgeon Research Links")

Alaska State Medical Board

Arizona (Check "Plastic Surgeon Research Links")

California (Look Under "Plastic Surgeon Research Links")

Colorado (Check Plastic Surgeon Research Links)

Florida (Look Under "Plastic Surgeon Research Links")

Georgia (Check Plastic Surgeon Research Links)

Hawaii (Look Under "Plastic Surgeon Research Links")

Idaho State Board of Medicine

Illinois (Check Plastic Surgeon Research Links)

Indiana (Look Under "Plastic Surgeon Research Links")

Iowa Board of Medical Examiners

Kansas (Look Under "Plastic Surgeon Research Links")

Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure

Louisiana (Look Under "Plastic Surgeon Research Links")

Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine

Montana Board of Medical Examiners Check License Status

Maryland (Look Under "Plastic Surgeon Research Links")

Massachusetts (Under "Plastic Surgeon Research Links")

Minnesota (Under "Plastic Surgeon Research Links")

Mississippi (Look Under "Plastic Surgeon Research Links")

Missouri (Under "Plastic Surgeon Research Links")

Montana (Look Under "Plastic Surgeon Research Links")

Nebraska (Check Plastic Surgeon Research Links)

Nevada (Look Under "Plastic Surgeon Research Links")

New Hampshire (Check Plastic Surgeon Research Links)

New Jersey (Look Under "Plastic Surgeon Research Links")

New York (Check Plastic Surgeon Research Links)

North Carolina (Look Under "Plastic Surgeon Research Links")

Ohio (Check "Plastic Surgeon Research Links")

Oklahoma (Check "Plastic Surgeon Research Links")

Oregon (Check "Research Your Surgeon" link)

Pennsylvania (Check "Plastic Surgeon Research Links")

Rhode Island Board of Medical Licensure

South Carolina (Check "Research Your Surgeon" link)

Tennessee (Check "Research Your Surgeon" link)

Texas (Check "Plastic Surgeon Research Links")

Utah (Check "Plastic Surgeon Research Links")

Vermont (Check "Plastic Surgeon Research Links")

Virginia (Check "Research Your Surgeon" link)

Washington (Check "Plastic Surgeon Research Links")

West Virginia (Check "Research Your Surgeon" link)

Wisconsin (Check "Plastic Surgeon Research Links")

If your state is not listed, please check the search engines or your state's web site. If you find something, please Email the URL.

Research Your Surgeon's Facilities The American Association for Accreditation For Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF) is a voluntary program of inspection and accreditation in surgery facilities to ensure excellence and quality care to patients. If your plastic surgeon performs surgery at his office, you want an accredited surgical facility. This means it has passed rigorous examination to assure equipment and procedures at the facility meet standards for optimal safety.

Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations - Usually accredits hospitals and hospital-based outpatient surgical facilities. Quality Check.

American Society of Plastic SurgeonsAll ASPS (American Society of Plastic Surgeons, not the American Board of Plastic Surgery) members must practice in accredited surgical facilities. All ASPS member surgeons are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, not all board certified plastic surgeons belong to the ASPS as membership to the ASPS requires a fee.

Plastic Surgery FAQ

Legal Help

Obtaining legal recourse for plastic surgery gone bad is difficult. If you follow the advice here, chances are you won't need legal help. If you have already experienced a bad plastic surgery the first thing you will need is a copy of your medical records. I suggest contacting your surgeon with evidence and photos of your bad plastic surgery and requesting a refund so you can go to a good plastic surgeon to have the procedure revised. If they do not comply I would forward your records, photos and any other evidence you collected to the doctor's state medical board for review.

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*NOTE: The term Board Eligible is commonly used among medical professionals and is meant to be defined as one who is eligible to take the board exam to become board certified in their specialty because they have completed the required training in an accredited residency program. However, the ABMS states the term "board eligible" has been given such diverse meanings by different agencies, they recommend the term be disavowed and the ABPS does not allow doctors to advertise the terminology, because it does not define what point in the certification process the doctor is in. It is only defined here should you come across the term in your research.


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