American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals

Finding the best plastic surgeon for you

finding the best plastic surgeon for you

Searching for the best plastic surgeon is like dating. You're looking for that special someone who gets you, shares your vision and will help you become your best self. It's a mix of excitement, nerves and high hopes as you sift through plastic surgeon websites, reviews and before and after photos, seeking a connection that feels just right.

Will this approach ensure your plastic surgery journey is as safe and satisfying as possible? What else should you consider when searching for the best plastic surgeon for you?

To get answers to these important questions, we spoke with ASPS Member Surgeons Lara Devgan, MD, and Kristy Hamilton, MD, about how to ensure you're making a well-informed decision and finding the perfect match when looking for a plastic surgeon.

Board certification

Any medical doctor can call themselves a plastic surgeon. However, to get the best, you want a doctor who has been specifically trained in plastic surgery.

"With the increasing number of providers of all stripes popping up, it is important to understand that this is a serious academic discipline," said Devgan. "It is impossible to be a self-taught plastic surgeon without all the many steps along the way."

Ensure the surgeon you choose is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). Don't be confused by other official sounding boards and certifications. ABPS is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). There is no ABMS-recognized certifying board with "cosmetic surgery" in its name.

A helpful tip for patients is that ASPS Member Surgeons in the United States must be certified by ABPS when they apply for membership, so looking for an ASPS Member Surgeon can help you ensure board certification.

Professional affiliations

Membership in professional organizations, such as the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, indicates that the surgeon is committed to ongoing education, adheres to a code of ethics, has completed the necessary training and has passed comprehensive exams in plastic surgery.

To make your search for a board-certified plastic surgeon easier, ASPS offers its Find a Plastic Surgeon tool to help guide your search.


You want a plastic surgeon who has plenty of experience performing these procedures, and that doesn't necessarily mean having to choose an older surgeon. According to Devgan, young plastic surgeons still have extensive experience.

"By the time a plastic surgeon starts their career, they have already completed six to ten years of focused plastic surgical training over the course of 25,000 to 35,000 hours, under the direct supervision of a cohort of senior surgeons," said Devgan. "Even surgeons who are starting out still have expertise."


Look for a surgeon who specializes in the procedure you're interested in. Specialization is essential in plastic surgery, so find out how often the surgeons have performed your desired procedure and their success rates.

"Ensure your plastic surgeon is well-versed in your surgery of interest and performs it routinely," said Hamilton.

Before and after photos

Reviewing before and after photos of former patients who've undergone your desired procedure can give you a good idea of the surgeon's skill and aesthetic judgment. Look for patients with features similar to yours in terms of age, body shape and goals.

"Each surgeon has a different style and approach," said Devgan. "You need to like the nuances of a plastic surgeon's work, which can be ascertained by looking at their before and after images."

Hamilton points out that, like any artist, each plastic surgeon has their own style and aesthetic.

"Some patients seek more understated results, while others may seek a more exaggerated look," said Hamilton. "Finding the right fit is essential."

Patient reviews and testimonials

Reading reviews and testimonials from previous patients can provide insights into their experiences with the surgeon and their satisfaction with the results. However, look for reviews across various platforms to get a balanced view.


Schedule a consultation with a few surgeons to discuss your goals and expectations. Remember that you are not obligated to proceed with the surgeons you consult with.

"You should never feel pressure to undergo an aesthetic procedure by a surgeon or their office staff," said Hamilton. "There is never a rush. You should take your time and feel like you can appropriately contemplate this major decision."

The consultation lets you assess the surgeon's communication skills, empathy and professionalism. Ask about their approach to your procedure, potential risks and how they handle complications.

Devgan said you should look for a plastic surgeon who is "kind, thorough, ethical and personable, with an appropriate respect for the gravitas of surgery."

Hospital privileges

Check if the surgeon has the privilege to perform plastic surgery in an accredited hospital, which is a sign that they meet the hospital's rigorous standards for patient care.

Safety and facility accreditation

Ensure that the surgeon's practice or surgical center is accredited by a reputable organization. Accreditation means the facility meets strict standards for safety, equipment, personnel and surgeon credentials.


Cost is a consideration, but it should never be the sole determining factor when it comes to your health. Quality and safety are more important than price.

Personal comfort

Finally, it's essential that you feel comfortable with your surgeon. Trust your instincts about whether you feel confident in their abilities and comfortable with their bedside manner.

"Go with your gut," said Hamilton. "The physician-patient relationship is sacred and truly special. You should feel at ease with your future plastic surgeon and confident in your care and surgical plan."

Making the best choice for you

Remember, the "best" surgeon is subjective and varies depending on individual needs, goals and preferences. It's crucial to thoroughly research and consider all the above factors before deciding on a surgeon. Most importantly, always check that your plastic surgeon is board certified.

To find a qualified plastic surgeon for any cosmetic or reconstructive procedure, consult a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. All ASPS members are board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, have completed an accredited plastic surgery training program, practice in accredited facilities and follow strict standards of safety and ethics. Find an ASPS member in your area.


Patient Care Center