Going under the knife can be a scary experience for even the most stoic individual. While most plastic surgery procedures are classified as routine, there are always risks with surgery. You want to be sure that your surgeon holds a current, valid medical license to perform your operation. In many states, physicians of any type can call themselves cosmetic surgeons and perform certain procedures. If it is important to you to use only a licensed plastic surgeon, you can take steps to check the licensing of the surgeon you plan to use.
Determine what your state medical board is called. Each state names its board. It could be a “division,” a “board,” a “group” or some other name. You can determine this in several ways. You can view the name of the governing body listed on the certificates in the doctor’s office, you can ask the doctor’s office personnel or you can go to and look up your state medical board.
Find out the first and last name of your potential plastic surgeon. You can do this by calling the office. Ask a staff member or look at the business card the office provides. It is important to know the first and last name of the doctor you are checking as there may be several doctors in your state and in your area with the same last name. Be sure you have the names spelled correctly. Having a middle initial might also be helpful.
Type the doctor’s name on the state board website to see if the doctor is licensed. In some cases, the site will also list any disciplinary actions taken against the doctor in the past. You can also use the site to determine the surgeon’s educational background, years in practice and other pertinent information.
Call the state board office and ask if the website is current and up to date. Ask them to double check whether your plastic surgeon holds a medical license. While you have the board on the phone, you can also ask if there is any currently pending action against the doctor.
- main surgeon image by Andrey Rakhmatullin from Fotolia.com