Two plastic surgeons doing their job

How to Choose a Plastic Surgeon

Choosing a plastic surgeon is a crucial part of the plastic surgery process. The right surgeon can solve your cosmetic or plastic surgery needs professionally and quickly and provide beautiful results. However, you don’t want to get services from the first person you come across. There’s a process to choosing a surgeon, and we’re going to give you some tips on making sure you choose the right person.

These steps will help you better understand what to look for from your surgeon, how to verify the results, and where to get information on the surgeon’s previous work.

1. Verify Credentials

The first step in the process is to research your prospective surgeon’s credentials. Unfortunately, as with an industry, there can be people who take advantage of the system and acquire credentials they didn’t work for. While the media often portrays plastic surgeons in a negative light, the truth is that a very small percentage of professional plastic surgeons engage in any negative practices.

Surgeons are required to uphold certain medical ethics codes and laws and receive education and training before they can be certified. Typically, surgeons start with, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree and go on to pass the MCAT test to enter medical school. Prospective surgeons first obtain their MD degree, typically after 4 years of medical school.

Once the surgeon’s degree is complete, they’ll enter the residency phase where they gain the technical skills necessary to practice independently. Canadian Plastic Surgery residency programs are 5 years in duration. Many surgeons then choose to spend an additional year or two to focus on a sub-speciality, a process known as a Fellowship. Canadian Plastic Surgeons must successfully complete rigorous examinations administered by the Royal College of Surgeons in order to become Board-Certified and granted a license to practice.

Be sure to research your surgeon’s credentials to be sure they completed all of the requirements to become a plastic surgeon. This will help you narrow down the list to experienced surgeons with proper credentials and help you avoid scams.

2. Clarify Your Goals

Your surgeon will likely ask you why you’re seeking a plastic surgery or cosmetic surgery procedure. This is a good time to think about the answer to the question. Think about the price of your procedure and whether you can actually afford it. Smaller procedures might cost only a few thousand dollars, but more advanced cosmetic surgeries can cost $20,000 or more. Be certain you’re ready to have a medical procedure and front the costs.

It’s also important to look at your goals for the surgery. Keeping goals realistic helps you better understand what you can reasonably expect from the procedure and what may be unrealistic. Your surgeon will better be able to explain the goals and challenges you may encounter from the procedure.

3. View The Surgeon’s Portfolio

It’s important to verify a surgeon’s results as much as his credentials. Many plastic surgeons will provide a portfolio of their work to verify successes and skill. Skilled plastic surgeons can massively overhaul the human body while still making things look natural.

For the best results, look closely at what previous patients wanted vs. the outcome of the surgery. Does it look like the surgeon completed the task? Do the results look natural? Would you allow the same results for your surgery?

4. Get Recommendations

Recommendations from friends or families can help cut down on the time you spend searching for a new surgeon. Friends and family who are happy with their results will be happy to share details like who the surgeon was, where they operate, the cost, and recovery time. Recovery time should also be a prime concern, since you may have to miss work for certain procedures.

5. Read Reviews, but Remember to Be Skeptical

Another way to get recommendations is to look online at the surgeon’s reviews. The testimony of strangers can actually be more effective since it’s unbiased. Your friend or family member may try to convince you to take one path or the other based on their own ideas.

It’s important to check reviews but to always be skeptical of online reviews. Look for trends among the reviewers. If the surgeon receives mostly positive reviews, there’s a chance he or she delivers good results. Likewise, a negative trend in reviews can indicate someone with a lower level of skill or integrity.

6. Ask a Lot of Questions During Your Consultation

There’s no shame in asking questions during your initial consultation. The surgeon will ask questions about your procedure, what you expect, and why you’re seeking surgery. This is your opportunity to ask questions as well, like how much the procedure will cost, the time commitment, recovery time, and any side effects you can expect.

7. Choose a Comfortable Environment

The surgeon’s office should feel comfortable and clean. After all, you’re going to have surgery there, and you won’t feel great about it if the environment is wrong. We’ve all been to an office that didn’t feel right or was untidy and unclean.

Take a quick look around the office. Note the attitudes of the staff, too. Staff should be supportive and encouraging, as should your surgeon.

8. Take Your Time and Be Confident in Your Choice

Perhaps the most important tip for choosing a plastic surgeon, this tip is easy to remember. Taking your time and choosing the right surgeon can make a difference in the price and outcome of your surgery. Do your research, trust in the credentials of the surgeon and check online reviews. It’s ok to take a few weeks or even months to choose the right person. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!


Choosing a plastic surgeon can be a long process, but the more research you do, the more informed you’ll be. Informed patients can better understand the procedure they’re going to have as well as the potential cost both financially and physically. It’s important to pace yourself so you don’t make a hasty decision that becomes too costly.

Plastic surgeons are here to help! Despite some negative publicity in certain media outlets, plastic surgeons are certified professionals lending their skills to help everyday people augment, repair, and reconstruct their bodies.

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