Choosing a Plastic Surgeon

Training & Board Certification Status

In the United States physicians are licensed to practice medicine by state licensing boards. Once licensed, there are no federal laws that expressly define what procedures a physician can and cannot perform. In other words, a physician not trained to perform plastic surgery could claim to be a specialist in cosmetic plastic surgery and perform procedures such as liposuction, breast augmentation and tummy tuck, which they are not qualified. Hard to believe, but unfortunately, this does happen more and more frequently. This is particularly common in medical spas where often the business of making money is put well before safety. There have been encouraging steps recently with unqualified doctors having their licenses revoked or even serving jail time. Salt Lake City and Utah are still a little behind the curve with this.

Make sure your surgeon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. To become board certified by this board, a plastic surgeon must first complete intensive training in an accredited plastic surgery training program. Thereafter the surgeon must pass rigorous written and oral examinations given by the board. The American Board of Plastic Surgery is one of only 24 accredited specialty boards recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and is the only board recognized by the ABMS to certify a surgeon in plastic surgery of the face and body.

There are a number of other “boards” that include “cosmetic surgery,” “facial surgery,” or “aesthetic surgery” in the title. These do not require a physician to have completed a plastic surgery training program. Some of them also imply that plastic surgeons are trained in reconstructive surgery, whereas “cosmetic surgeons” are better qualified to do “cosmetic surgery.” The training and requirements of these boards are not comparable to those of the American Board of Plastic Surgery. There is only ONE board for plastic surgeons, the American Board of Plastic Surgery. To verify a physician’s board status, contact the American Board of Plastic Surgery at (215) 587-9322 or You may also contact the American Board of Medical Specialties at 1 (800) 776-2378 or

For a complete discussion regarding the difference between a plastic surgeon and a cosmetic surgeon, read here.

Operating Facility Safety Standards

Many cosmetic procedures are performed in clinic operating rooms as this offers the patient a significant reduction in cost. This is a safe and effective practice so long as the safety of the patient is not compromised in the process. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery requires that all plastic surgery performed under anesthesia other than minor local anesthesia meet specific criteria.

The rate of serious complications in accredited facilities is extremely low and is comparable to the risk in a freestanding surgical center or hospital outpatient facility. Dr. Yates has an in-office operating suite that is accredited by the AAAASF, the gold standard for plastic surgery operating facilities.


Choose a surgeon who has vast experience in plastic surgery procedures. More importantly, choose a surgeon with particular experience in the procedure that you are interested in. If you are interested in breast augmentation, ask your surgeon what percentage of his/her practice is breast augmentation and how many he/she has done.

Dr. Yates is a member of both of the major societies for the Utah plastic surgeon, the ASPS (American Society of Plastic Surgeons) and ASAPS (American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons). Plastic surgery is a rapidly evolving field, and Dr. Yates prides himself on keeping up with new techniques and ideas.

Word of Mouth

Word of mouth today is much more than just asking for opinions from close friends and family. There is so much information at your fingertips if you know where to look.  There are several excellent, non-biased plastic surgeon review and rating sites.

Ask your Social media friends for their recommendations if you feel comfortable.  Some plastic surgeons have Facebook business pages where you can read about experiences from previous patients. Ours is Yates Plastic Surgery (Facebook Page) if you are interested.

Comfort with the Staff

You should feel welcomed and comfortable with the plastic surgeon’s team. They will work closely with you every step of the way. You need to know that they have your best interests in mind.

Comfort with the Plastic Surgery Facility

We have designed a world-class plastic surgery clinic. The sights, sounds, and smells of the facility were designed to be calming and comforting. Having the certified operating room within this facility helps ease a lot of anxiety that comes with checking in at a hospital before your procedure. Try a virtual tour.

Choose the Right Personality for you

Choose a surgeon who is confident, likable, and ethical. The relationship between you and your plastic surgeon will be a long-lasting one. The process is much more enjoyable if you enjoy the surgeon and his or her staff. You should never leave a consultation feeling pressured, or that you are being talked into a procedure you are not interested in. Additionally, ask your surgeon beforehand if there are any charges for revisions or treatment of complications. Dr. Yates serves the Salt Lake City Utah metro area and would love to have the opportunity to meet, and hopefully impress you enough to choose him to be your plastic surgeon.

Click, for a list of questions to bring to your consultation.

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Ask us a question, request a private consultation, or submit a pre-visit questionnaire to Dr. Yates.

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