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Forma Plastic Surgery is dedicated to your health and well-being. The surgeons at Forma Plastic Surgery want to provide you with this helpful guide to help direct and inform you along your journey of self-improvement. This easy-to-use guide is designed to provide you with everything you need to know before taking the first steps to find a cosmetic plastic surgery provider. Please feel free to download the .pdf file, print it out, and take it with you to your doctor's consultation.

Evaluate yourself

  • I am choosing to enhance my appearance because I desire it. Others are supporting me, but no one is influencing, pressuring, or forcing me.
  • I am realistic about what I want to achieve. I’m not looking for radical results, and I don’t want to – or expect to – change who I am.
  • I understand that cosmetic plastic surgery can improve my appearance, but it cannot change my life.
  • I accept that the results of my procedure may be permanent, and I will have to live with them for the rest of my life.
  • I know there are potential risks and that no results are guaranteed.
  • My physical AND emotional health is stable. I am not being treated for any chronic health problems or serious mental health conditions.
  • I can afford all of the costs of surgery, including the non-monetary cost of recovery time.

When to choose a plastic surgeon

Plastic surgeons are physicians with specific training in both cosmetic and reconstructive procedures from head to toe.

Understanding accreditation

How a doctor becomes a plastic surgeon — to become certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), a doctor must complete a specialized surgical residency after medical school, and complete an approved, supervised 2 – 3-year plastic surgery residency before being eligible to take an extensive set of written and oral board exams. Plastic surgery training and board exams include extensive attention to aesthetic and cosmetic issues, as well as reconstructive concerns. Qualified board-certified plastic surgeons may then apply for membership in the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

Sounds like a lot to take in? Just make sure your doctor is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) AND holds a membership in at least one of these key medical societies:

Doctor checklist

Qualifications – Your doctor holds the appropriate ABMS board certification and is a member in good standing of key professional societies. The medical facilities selected by the doctor are fully accredited, and a qualified medical professional only administers anesthesia.

Privileges – Your doctor has hospital privileges to perform the procedure at a local, accredited hospital. Even though your procedure may be performed at a fully accredited freestanding or office-based surgical center, it is best to confirm that your doctor meets the standards to perform the same procedure in the hospital setting.

Professionalism – Your doctor has been listening to you and addressing your goals and concerns. You have been offered solutions that you understand. The supporting staff treats you with respect and dignity. Everything is clear, concise, organized, and attentive.

Checking records – You have checked with your state medical board that the doctor is licensed to practice in the state, and there are no prior or pending actions against the doctor. If there are any actions listed, make sure they are not related to real negligence jeopardizing the status of the doctor’s medical license.

Proof – Your doctor has performed the procedure you are choosing many times in the recent past and had photo documentation of actual patients and results achieved.

Information – The doctor and supporting staff have given you all of the information needed to make an informed choice. This includes informed consent documents to sign.

Health – Your doctor requires a health screening or evaluation prior to surgery. Any physical or emotional health conditions are addressed, specifically how these may influence your cosmetic plastic surgery. This includes information on the importance of not smoking at least four weeks prior to surgery.

Cost – You accept the defined cost of surgery, including the variable costs of operating room time, anesthesia, and any unexpected events. The best possible care and outcome does not come from the most inexpensive cost.

Specialization – Your doctor only practices in the area of specialization directly related to his or her ABMS certification.

Red flags

  • Prior to treatment, you are not given informed consent documents or pre- and post-procedure instructions.
  • The doctor is willing to perform surgery without giving you a health evaluation.
  • You are offered special pricing for a limited time only as an incentive to commit to surgery right away or your total pricing is not outlined prior to surgery.
  • Your doctor downplays the risks involved with surgery or makes unrealistic promises or guarantees.
  • The doctor is willing to perform multiple, unrelated procedures or suggests additional procedures unrelated to your stated goals.

Top five essential topics to discuss with your doctor

  1. What procedure do you recommend to help me best achieve my goals? What can I expect during the surgery and in recovery and healing time?
  2. Are there alternatives to the procedure you recommend?
  3. What is your recent experience in performing the procedure recommended? May I see before-and-after photographs of your patients' results?
  4. What is your ABMS board certification? To what professional societies are you a member of?
  5. Is this the facility where I would have my surgery accredited? By which organization? At which hospitals do you have staff privileges or the procedure you will be performing?


The information contained in this website is provided for consumers seeking general information regarding plastic surgery. A consumer reviews the information and chooses to use it with the understanding that when choosing a doctor for a prospective procedure, they should always check with their state and local authorities to ensure the professionalism of his/her selected doctor. Forma Plastic Surgery is providing this information for informational use only and is not necessarily a representation of the surgeons and staff.