What to Know Before Choosing Surgery

Fees and Insurance

Fees for cosmetic plastic surgery generally are paid prior to surgery. Costs vary widely and depend on the complexity of the operation, where the surgery takes place and which anesthetic is administered.

As a rule, cosmetic plastic surgery is considered "elective surgery" and is not covered by most insurance plans. Some operations that have a significant functional aspect - such as breast reduction, if the weight of your breasts causes pain or interferes with normal activities - may be considered reconstructive rather than cosmetic. Check with your plastic surgeon, who may recommend that your insurance company be contacted before surgery to determine whether coverage is available.

Never choose a doctor solely on the basis of lower cost. After checking for certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and membership in ASAPS, you should entrust your face or body to the plastic surgeon with whom you feel most comfortable.

Surgical Facilities

Cosmetic plastic surgery is safely performed in an accredited office-based surgery facility or free-standing ambulatory surgery facility, or it may be performed in the hospital. If your surgery will be performed outside of the hospital, be sure that your doctor has privileges to perform the same procedure in an accredited hospital. By selecting an ASAPS-member surgeon for your cosmetic plastic surgery on Find-a-Surgeon (insert link), you can be assured that he or she qualifies for such privileges.

Risks and Complications

Cosmetic plastic surgery, like all surgery, has risks. Plastic surgeons perform thousands of successful operations each week, but as with any type of surgery, a patient can have an adverse reaction to the anesthetic or be affected by postoperative complications. These problems can occur even when the surgeon has performed the operation with the utmost skill. ASAPS believes that fully informed patient consent is essential to any medical or surgical treatment. Your ASAPS-member plastic surgeon is the best source of this information as it relates to your particular surgery.

Recovering from Your Surgery

For most cosmetic plastic surgical procedures, you will need to restrict your normal activities for a time following surgery. It takes time, as well, for the visible signs of healing to subside. Plan your work and social activities to allow sufficient time for recovery.

More Tips



How to Check

Board Certification Certification by an American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) recognized board that is appropriate to the procedure. American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) certification ensures in-depth plastic surgical training. ABPS: 215.587.9322 or http://www.abplsurg.org
ABMS: http://www.abms.org
Hospital Privileges Regardless of where the surgery is to be performed, the surgeon should have privileges to perform the procedure in an acute care hospital. Ask the professional staff office at the hospital to verify staff privileges.
Surgeon's Experience American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) membership means a surgeon is ABPS-certified and has significant experience in cosmetic surgery of the face and body. ASAPS: 888.272.7711 or
Surgical Facility Accreditation Facilities should be accredited by a recognized accrediting body, or be state licensed or Medicare-certified. AAAASF: 847.949.6058 or http://www.aaaasf.org
AAAHC: 847.853.6060 or http://www.aaahc.org
JCAHO: 630.792.5000 or http://www.jcaho.org
Check with individual states for license information.
Details of Your Surgery To be discussed before surgery: Your complete medical history including past and current medications; surgical benefits, risks, and alternatives; total cost including surgeon fees, anesthesia, facility and other; surgeon's policy on revisionary procedures; postsurgical care and typical timeline for resuming work/social activities. Ask your board-certified plastic surgeon.


10 steps to find the right plastic surgeon

To locate an ASAPS board-certified plastic surgeon in your area click Find a Surgeon.

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