ASAPS Consumer Tips Brochure

Callers to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) toll-free Find a Surgeon referral service number (1.888.ASAPS.11) receive a free copy of the brochure, Cosmetic Surgery Can Be a Beautiful Choice. You can download the brochure now.


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, 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
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
AAAHC: 847.853.6060 or
JCAHO: 630.792.5000 or
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.


Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Check List

The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) offers these Guidelines for Consumers considering any cosmetic surgical or non-surgical procedure:

  • Check the physician's credentials: A doctor's training and certification should be appropriate to the planned procedure. Certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) ensures in-depth surgical training in all aspects of plastic surgery. Membership in the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) means a surgeon is ABPS-certified and has met additional requirements for continuing education and experience in cosmetic surgery. Anyone can claim to be a doctor, cosmetic surgeon or plastic surgeon. It is important to verify these claims with a reliable, independent source.
  • Consider the setting: Prospective patients should be cautious about receiving cosmetic procedures outside a medical setting, such as in a private home or at a "party." If undergoing a surgical procedure outside the hospital, the facility should be accredited by a recognized national agency (see list below), state-licensed or Medicare certified.
  • Check on the doctor's hospital privileges: If a cosmetic surgical procedure is to be performed in an office or ambulatory surgery center, the surgeon should have privileges to perform the same procedure in an acute care hospital. When you call the hospital, ask for the professional staff office to verify if the physician is on staff and has privileges to perform the particular procedure.
  • Take time for a thorough evaluation and informed consent: Before any medical procedure, patients should provide their medical history, and be examined and evaluated for the specific treatment. They should receive detailed information about the procedure's risks and benefits in order to give full informed consent.
  • Plan on follow-up care: A reputable doctor will be available for necessary follow-up care of patients undergoing any cosmetic procedure.

Keep these numbers handy:

American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS):

1-888-ASAPS-11 (1-888-272-7711) or
Verify a doctor's certification in plastic surgery and membership in this leading national organization of cosmetic surgery specialists.

American Board of Medical Specialties:

1-866-275-2267 or
Verify a doctor's certification in any recognized medical specialty.

Federation of State Medical Boards:

1-817-868-4000 or
Verify a doctor's medical license and check for disciplinary action.

Surgical Facility Accrediting Organizations:

Verify surgical facility accreditation and safety meeting nationally recognized standards.

American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities:

1-847-949-6058 or

Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care:

1-847-853-6060 or

Joint Commission for Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations:

1-630-792-5000 or

Always remember: Surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures are medical procedures and should be undertaken only under the care of a trained specialist.

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

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