How To Find a Good Plastic Surgeon: The MOST Important Question To Ask

Dr. Sean Hill

At our Frisco, TX, plastic surgery practice, we often hear from our patients about how hard it is to choose the right plastic surgeon, how they do not know exactly what to ask a potential surgeon, and they are overwhelmed by the choices. Some people take more care in choosing their electrician, plumber, hairdresser, or auto mechanic than they use when thinking about how to find a good plastic surgeon.  

How Do I Make Sure My Plastic Surgeon Is Good?

Some patients will tell us they simply went where a friend, neighbor, or relative went without doing any research, which may be a proper choice or may be the worst way to approach the process. Some may go with the one with the fanciest office, the nicest suit, or the best smile.

Don’t get blinded by the flashing lights. In fact, if you simply ask one question, you can easily weed out the unqualified surgeons. So what is THE question a patient should ask any provider they are considering for surgery? 

Are you certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS)?

That is it. That’s the single most important question to ask. In the US, the ABPS is the only board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) to certify surgeons in the specialty of plastic surgery. By choosing a plastic surgeon certified by the ABPS, you can be assured that the surgeon has completed an accredited training program in plastic surgery and passed the rigorous written and oral examinations covering all plastic surgery procedures. You can check whether your plastic surgeon is certified by ABPS by visiting

What Is the Benefit of Being Board Certified?

The ABMS was established in 1933 and represents 24 broad areas of medicine. The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) mission is to serve the public and the medical profession by improving the quality of health care by setting professional standards for lifelong certification in partnership with its member boards like the ABPS. 

Before becoming board certified, the physician must first:  

  • Finish four years of premedical education  
  • Earn a medical degree (M.D., D.O.)  
  • Complete three to five years of a residency training program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) 
  • Provide letters of attestation from their program director and/or faculty 
  • Obtain an unrestricted medical license to practice medicine in the U.S. 
  • Pass a written and oral examination.  

Do Other Board Certifications Count?

Do not be confused by other official-sounding boards and certifications. Some surgeons may advertise that they are “certified” but may not be certified by a board approved by the American Board of Medical Specialties, such as the pre-eminent American Board of Plastic Surgery. For example, The American Board of Cosmetic Surgery is not an ABMS-approved board. These physicians may be trained in emergency medicine, general surgery, and OB/GYN and completed a shortened limited training program or may even be self-taught! 

Additionally, some surgeons who perform plastic surgery may advertise that they are “certified,” but their board certification may not be in plastic surgery. A surgeon who is board certified in another specialty, while qualified in that specialty, likely will not possess the education, training and experience of a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. For example, while OB/GYNs and plastic surgeons are all M.D.s, having an OB/GYN do your breast augmentation makes as much sense as having a plastic surgeon deliver your baby. 

It is essential that you verify your surgeon is board certified in plastic surgery by an accredited board, or you could be putting your health and safety at risk. Do not skip this step. 

Dr. Hill is proudly certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons and has been selected by his peers for membership in the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, The Aesthetic Society, The Rhinoplasty Society, and he is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. (Locals also voted him the best cosmetic plastic surgeon in the Frisco region.) Be sure to do your homework; your health and safety are important! 

If you are looking for a respected, board-certified plastic surgeon in the Frisco, Plano, or Allen, TX, area, request a consultation using our online form or call us at (214) 937-4879 to schedule an appointment.

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