Face Lift

Your Surgeon Search Made Simple

Choosing the right board-certified surgeon for your facial rejuvenation procedure is one of the first and most important decisions you will make regarding your surgery.

Step One: Ask Around

Start by asking around. Oftentimes, word of mouth is one of the best ways to begin your search. Ask friends, neighbors and colleagues who they have heard of, or who they liked and who they didn't like. Some names will probably come up again and again. This is a good sign.

Once you have a list of two or three surgeons, you can start doing your own due diligence.

Step Two: Verifying the Basics

A surgeon may be a Medical Doctor (MD) or a Doctor of Osteopathy (DO), or osteopathic physician. Both medical doctors and osteopathic physicians have attended a four-year undergraduate college and completed four years of basic medical education and can specialize after completing a residency program. To verify a doctor's license, visit our list of the state medical boards.

Step Three: Understand and Confirm Board Certification

All surgeons should be board certified by the appropriate board. Facial plastic surgeons should be certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ABFPRS) or the American Board of Otolaryngology (ABO), or both. Certification means that the surgeon has had extensive training, is up to date on the latest developments in facial plastic surgery and takes appropriate safety precautions. Most facial plastic surgeons do their residency training in otolaryngology-head-and-neck surgery.

Certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) represents the highest level of certification attainable for plastic surgeons.

For eyelid surgery, ophthalmologists should be board-certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and have additional training in oculoplastic surgery.

There are other boards that you may hear about in the aesthetic medicine community, such as the American Board of Dermatology (ABD) and the American Board of Surgery (ABS). Some boards refer to physicians and surgeons who have passed their requirements as "diplomates."


Board certification can take years to complete. Some surgeons may use the phrase "board eligible," meaning that they meet the educational and training criteria to be eligible for examination and possible certification by a particular board but still must finish the needed number of years in practice.

If a doctor says he or she is board certified, always ask by what board so that you can avoid any misunderstanding. You can also check on your own. To verify that your surgeon is a board-certified plastic surgeon, otolaryngologist or ophthalmologist, contact the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). You can do this over the phone by calling 1-866-ASK-ABMS (1-866-275-2267).

Remember that proper board certification should carry more weight than other claims or monikers such as "A-list plastic surgeon," "Plastic Surgeon to the Stars," or "Park Avenue Plastic Surgeon."

Step Four: Membership in Professional Aesthetic Medicine Societies

There are several professional organizations representing physicians and surgeons who practice plastic surgery and facial plastic surgery. These include The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and The American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery. Membership in these societies is not a requirement, nor an endorsement. That said, being a member of these societies does mean that the surgeon meets their stringent criteria.

For example, ASAPS only accepts cosmetic plastic surgeons certified by either ABPS or RCPSC. Most members of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery are certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology and are diplomates of the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

Step Five: Go With Your Gut

If you get a good feeling or a bad feeling when you're with a particular surgeon, listen to what your gut is telling you. It is important that you connect with your surgeon and feel that he or she listens to you and understands what you are looking for from your facial plastic surgery procedure. You should never feel rushed or pressured.

  • Halaas 58x57

    Yael Halaas, MD, FACS

    60 East 56th Street
    3rd Floor
    New York, NY 10022
    (332) 239-6439

  • P

    Cosmetic Surgery Associates of New York

    465 Columbus Avenue
    Valhalla, NY 10595
    (914) 421-0113

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    Min S. Ahn MD

    The Aesthetic Wellness Center
    2 Connector Road, #2C
    Westborough, MA 01581