1. Make sure he/she is a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon and is a member of the American Board of Plastic Surgery.  This is very different from a Board-Certified Cosmetic Surgeon.  Board-Certified Plastic Surgeons must complete a 6 year residency in Plastic Surgery or they must complete a 5 year residency in General Surgery and a 3 year Plastic Surgery Fellowship.  Then they must pass their written boards.  Finally, they present 9 months of their cases and must pass an oral board that is given by other Plastic Surgeons.  Plastic Surgery Board Certification is governed by the American Board of Medical Specialties and is the only field that is recognized to do surgeries such as tummy tucks, breast augmentation, liposuction, etc within that board.  The American Board of Medical Specialties recognizes and governs 24 other boards, such as Cardiology, Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, etc., but NOT Cosmetic Surgery.

  2. Beware of the Board-Certified Cosmetic Surgeon.  A Board-Certified Cosmetic Surgeon is NOT a Plastic Surgeon and is either an Oral Surgeon, Ear/Nose/Throat Surgeon, Dermatologist, or General Surgeon who has done a 1 year cosmetic apprenticeship with another Cosmetic Surgeon.  Board-Certified Cosmetic Surgeons are members of the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, which is a self-proclaimed board not recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties or any other governing board.  Therefore, the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery lacks the checks and balances that the American Board of Plastic Surgery must abide by.

  3. Make sure your Plastic Surgeon is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, or ASPS.  Only Board-Certified Plastic Surgeons can be a member of this  society.

  4. Make sure your Plastic Surgeon has privileges to perform cosmetic procedures at multiple hospitals.  Most public and private hospitals will not give privileges to Cosmetic Surgeons to perform cosmetic procedures because of the liability that is placed on the hospital.