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Dr John Di Saia, an orange county california plastic surgeon

Can Just Anyone do my Cosmetic Surgery?

Most people know that physicians originally trained in several different specialties perform cosmetic surgery. A common question that patients will ask relates to credentials: What credentials are important in my prospective surgeon?

This really depends upon what you consider important. In years gone by hospitals were the "gatekeepers" here as most surgery occurred in hospital operating facilities. Hospitals have credentialing committees (upon which I have been a member more than once.) My simple manner of assessing qualification is to ask the question:

"Would the hospital allow your surgeon to do the operation that you request?"

Hospitals assess qualifications by looking into the training that is appropriate for a given specialist. All surgeons complete medical school. American medical schools are still looked at the most favorably. After medical school, plastic surgeons complete at least one surgical residency. Surgical residencies are formal training programs in a certain surgical specialty. Upon completion of such a program, a surgeon then seeks board certification. Completion of a particular residency program and certification signifies that the physician has been appropriately trained to do surgery in that specialty.

Hospitals generally require that a surgeon have completed the appropriate residency (approved by the American Board of Medical Specialists [ABMS]) and be either board certified or on the way to board certification.


The ABMS is the board that oversees the training in 24 different specialties, including Plastic Surgery. A board approved by the ABMS has training considered correct for that particular specialty.

Basic Online American Surgeon Check

[1] Go to the ABMS website and run your surgeon's name and state through the database. See if he/she is certified and in what specialty.

[2] Go you your State Medical Board and run your surgeon's name for disciplinary actions and large malpractice awards. [California]

[3] Ask what hospital your doctor uses from his staff and call the hospital medical staff office. Ask if your doctor has privileges to do your procedure there at the hospital.

Carefully consider what to do with the information you receive.

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© John Di Saia, MD... an Orange County California Plastic Surgeon       


Please note that this resource is offered freely to individuals considering cosmetic surgery. No rights are granted and it is not to be reprinted or copied without the author's prior written consent. Understand that some of the information presented may be a matter of professional opinion. Although efforts have been made to assure accuracy, no guarantees are expressed or implied.