Plastic Surgery: Things to Know

How can you ensure safety and satisfaction with the procedure?
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Checking the Stats

Check the surgeon's credentials. Many physicians today perform plastic and cosmetic surgery, including plastic surgeons, dermatologists, otolaryngologists, and ophthalmologists. One way to check a doctor's credentials is to ask if he or she is "board certified" by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), a board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) to certify doctors in the specialty of plastic surgery. You can call ABPS at (215) 587-9322 or check your doctor's credentials online.


There is another board, the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery in Lansing, Illinois, which certifies cosmetic surgeons. They can be reached at 708-474-7200.


Checking certification credentials is only the first step a consumer should take before selecting a doctor. Research any doctor's qualifications thoroughly to determine his or her abilities to perform the specific procedure in which you are interested. Following are further steps you can take to ensure that the doctor is qualified.

Ask about a doctor's hospital privileges. Some procedures can be safely performed in a doctor's office or outpatient surgical facility. But it's important to find out if the doctor has operating privileges at an accredited hospital for the same procedure you are interested in. The reason: Hospitals only grant privileges to surgeons after a committee reviews their training and competency to perform certain procedures. If the doctor doesn't have these privileges, go elsewhere.

Is the surgical facility accredited? The surgical facility should either be accredited by a national or state-recognized accrediting organization, state licensed, or Medicare certified. Check with one of the following organizations:

American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF) at 847-949-6058.


Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) at 847-853-6060.


Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) at 630-792-5000.


* Check with individual states for licensing information.

Continued on page 2:  Talking to Your Doctor


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