How to Find a Great Revision Rhinoplasty Surgeon

Selecting a skilled surgeon to perform your procedure can be an immensely stressful endeavor. There are so many surgeons out there all proclaiming their expertise. However, in the case of revision surgery, the rules are substantially different. Be very careful who you choose to perform this surgery. The more surgeries you have the more difficult it is to have a positive outcome, physically.

You are entitled to high quality patient care, privacy and respect. The fact that a surgeon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or the American Board of Otolaryngology with a subspecialty in Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery does not guarantee a positive result. This is your life. Do not let a piece of paper give you a false sense of security.

Although there are numerous prominent surgeons who are certified by the ABPS or ABO/ABFPRS, they became exemplary in the O.R. because of their talent and artistic eye, not their certification.

The word otorhinolaryngology, or the shorter term otolaryngology, is derived from the root words otos (ear), rhino (nose), laryngo (windpipe) and logos (science). All this together constitutes a surgeon who can perform surgery on the head and neck. In most cases, these surgeons will hold the subspecialty in Facial & Plastic Surgery of the Head and Neck.

In some cases, surgeons may proclaim that they are board certified but fail to state by which certification board they are certified. We hear this quite frequently, but do we really know what this means? You may wonder what a doctor must do or "be" to receive such a certification. And just who issues these "certificates"?

To Be Certified By the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS)

A doctor must have:

  • graduated from an accredited medical school,

  •  completed at least five years of residency - usually three years of general surgery or equivalent, plus two more years of practicing plastic surgery,

  • and pass oral and written examinations

Seven Penn Center, Suite 400
1635 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2204
(215) 587-9322

Although even if a surgeon has received a certification by the ABPS - this does not guarantee the surgeon has remained up to date regarding the practice of plastic surgeon nor does it mean he has participated in Continuing Medical Education (CME).

To Be Board Certified By The American Board of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery
Here is another certification that you may run into when dealing with facial surgery.  These surgeons are also trained in important aspects of rhinoplasty - both cosmetic and functional.  Not all cosmetic surgeons will know how to handle functional problems  so if your problem or complain includes breath problems or sinus problem ask your surgeon if he or she can competently handle these cases.  Please visit the ABFPRS website for more information.

To be eligible for certification, a surgeon must:

  • "Have completed a residency program approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in one of the two medical specialties containing identifiable training in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery: otolaryngology/head-and-neck surgery or plastic surgery.

  • Have earned prior certification by the American Board of Otolaryngology, the American Board of Plastic Surgery or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in otolaryngology/head-and-neck surgery or plastic surgery.

  • Have been in practice a minimum of two years.

  • Have 100 operative reports accepted by a peer-review committee.

  • Successfully pass an 8-hour written and oral examination.

  • Hold the appropriate licensure and adhere to the ABFPRS Code of Ethics."

3050 Post Oak Blvd., Suite 1700
Houston, TX 77056
(713) 850-0399

The American Board of Medical Specialties recognizes the American Board of Otolaryngology as a Medical Specially. The ABOto offers sub-specialty certificates in "Plastic Surgery within the Head and Neck".

As I said before, even if a surgeon has received a certification by the ABOto or ABFPRS - this does not guarantee the surgeon has remained up to date regarding the practice of plastic surgery nor does it mean he has participated in Continuing Medical Education (CME).

So who is responsible for determining if a surgeon is eligible for the ABPS or ABOto and just who gives these organizations the authority to do so?

"The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) is an organization of 24 approved medical specialty boards. The ABMS serves to coordinate the activities of its Member Boards and to provide information to the public, the government, the profession and its members concerning issues involving specialization and certification of medical specialists." Please visit for more information.

HOWEVER! This does not guarantee a positive outcome of your procedure.  Blatant disregard for human life and surgical incompetence is not as rare as it should be.  Just remember, ask around, don't be afraid people will think you are nosy. It could be a matter of a great result versus a mediocre or bad one.  Certificates do not give you an artistic ability or an eye for symmetry and beauty.  There are surgeons out there that have an excellent surgical eye that are not ABPS certified. And there are surgeons out there that are ABPS certified who are and who are not capable of delivering superior patient care and aesthetic results.  Although ABPS is not necessary for facial plastic surgery, I urge for at least a baseline certification by the ABOto (ENT) with a certification by the American Board of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery (ABFPRS). 

So how do you know who to choose, you ask?  Patient-to-patient referral is by far the best way to find an excellent surgeon.  Although beware as some may work for the surgeons and pretend to be a patient.  If you tend to hear the same name repeatedly you may think that perhaps they are the best to go to - and that may very well be so.  But you cannot count on this factor as the the media has a powerful edge.  You should pay attention to the public message boards on the internet as well as speak with real patients every chance you get.  The voice of both the satisfied and the unsatisfied patient is loud.  Just be cautious of people who may be either "bashing" or "talking up" a surgeon for reasons other than honesty.  Ask for proof, a journal, photos, a name, or whatever - and cross check.  You'd be amazed at how many deceptive people crawl the Internet.

Communication is Key
Communication is a necessary key to having a good doctor-patient relationship.  If you cannot communicate, he or she won't know what it is that you want or what your expectations are.  Be sure that he is open to your desires and wishes as well as what he or she may believe is realistic.  This is your body but he or she is the one who will be operating. 

Also, please realize that you cannot expect to bring in a photo of another's nose and say, "make me look like this". There are definitely results that can be obtained but as a general rule don't expect someone else's nose to look good on YOUR face.  However, you should bring photos of what you like and don't like to help convey what your desires are. You shouldn't expect miracles or to look like a movie star but you should expect improvement.  And you should definitely expect proper care, treatment and empathy.  Remember that you are the paying "client" - you essentially interview the surgeons for a "job" although this is more important as this is your health and well-being.  Don't bargain shop for surgery.  That includes auctions and lowest bidder websites.

Communication is a very important aspect of surgery.  Please don't be afraid to speak up, surgeons do need your input.  Go into a surgeon's office with an idea of what it is you want.  Explain these desires to the surgeon then listen what he has to say about what he thinks he can achieve realistically.  Just be prepared if you ask a surgeon's opinion, you just may get more than you bargained for.

Medical, Cosmetic And Plastic Surgery Organizations & Societies
ABMS Certified Doctor Home Page
The American Board of Plastic Surgery 
American Board of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery 
American Board of Otolaryngology 
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery

American Society of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeons  
AMA - American Medical Association Home Page 
The American Academy Of Cosmetic Surgeons
Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons
Brazilian Society of Plastic Surgery
Buenos Aires Society of Plastic Surgery - Argentina
Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons
Dutch Society for Plastic Surgery
French Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
Netherlands Society for Plastic Surgery (NVPC)
New England Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons
Spanish Society for Plastic, Reconstructive and Esthetic Surgery
Swiss Society of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery
Turkish Society of Plastic Surgeons

Verifying Your Surgeon's Certification
To verify your surgeons certification, determine if he or she is listed with the American Board of Medical Specialties. ABMS oversees both the ABPS & ABOto (which in turn recognizes the ABFPRS certification) provides you with the means to determine if your surgeon is in fact "certified" through their organization.  Click the below link-button to access the American Board of Medical Specialties' Online Certification Verification Database.

Alternatively you can verify a surgeon's certification over the phone by calling 1-866-ASK-ABMS  (or 1-866-275-2267). Both of these options are provided to you at no charge so feel free to utilize this service.

State Licensure Verification
This is an entirely different matter.  Ascertain that your surgeon's medical license is valid by either writing the medical board for your state or by visiting your state's online license verification programs such as can be found on the State Medical Boards Section of this site.  Some state medical board websites show if three has been a disciplinary action issued by the state.

Where To Get Surgeon Referrals 

The Revision Rhinoplasty Surgeon Referral Database
You may visit our own referral section for a few names in your general area.  

Plastic/Cosmetic Surgery Consultants
This is what you call a "middle man".  They get YOU to pay THEM to refer you to a surgeon and for them to tell you what you may benefit from.  They work on commission mostly (which is unethical so it is not filed as "commission").  I would trust them as far as I could throw them.  There are a few well-known "socialites" offering this service now.  I am not saying all consultants are like this, but this is a sneaky way to make money.  Some may not charge you but they may still get a "commission".

The reason we have this sites is so you can receive information like this at NO CHARGE, so you can educate yourself and make an well-informed decision regarding what you may think you need.  Although this website has sponsors - YOU make the choices, YOU research the surgeon, YOU make the ultimate decisions.  Hence, YOU are in charge.

This is the era of the internet and although no amount of research can replace the invaluable consultation with a qualified surgeon, it sure helps to be knowledgeable on the very procedure you may be undergoing.  Besides, communication with your own surgeon is very important so how can you convey your desires to him if you are going through a third party? Food for thought.  Educate yourself and then proceed.

Ask Within the Medical Field
Nurses and Operating Room techs are to be considered a plethora of invaluable information.  They know the "goods" and the "hush-hush" of the medical world.  Everyone talks about their peers in every profession.  Within the medical field it is tenfold.  If you know a nurse or know someone who knows a nurse, ask him or her what surgeons are considered wonderful and ask them to steer you clear of the "bad eggs".  Ask around because if there is dirt, it will surface.  But, it may be difficult if you don't know someone in this field as most nurses will not talk bad about a surgeon to someone they do not know for risk of a lawsuit.

Also ask your general practitioner, if you have one.  They have ears and know where you should and should not go if Cosmetic Plastic Surgery is your choice.  Ask your Dermatologist - they are really good at knowing who is the hottest scalpel in town. 

Books & Directories
There are two reference books available in most public libraries dedicated to providing information and names of board-certified plastic surgeons. They are listed by city and state.

    These books are:

  • Directory of Board Certified Medical Specialists, published by Marquis' Who's Who; a four-volume compilation of physicians by specialty from the American Board of Medical Specialties. Most recent is the 29th edition, 1997. Alternatively, call the ABMS toll-free number, 1-800- 776-2378.

  • The Compendium of Certified Medical Specialists, published by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS)

Word of Mouth
This is a good way to gather a list of prospective surgeons.  Word on the street can be either good or bad, Listen for both!  This also covers the internet.  Websites like these, as well as public chat rooms, message boards and newsgroups are especially helpful in obtaining a list of possibles.  Although you must realize some may be obvious plugs, news travels fast - no matter if it is positive or negative.  If you keep hearing the same name over and over, either that person's work is worthy of your body, they are shamelessly paying people to say such things.  So, don't rely solely on this.  Listen so you will know which category he or she may fall in.

Bottom Line?
Go to a surgeon known for giving great results and having exemplary patient care.  View lots of photos.  If he says he has none go elsewhere.  How can you know a surgeon's style if you cannot view examples of his work?  What a good result depends upon are these key factors

  • surgical skill

  • an artistic eye

  • patient-surgeon communication

  • your body's ability to heal

  • proper at home post-operative care

  • returning for scheduled follow-ups is an educational website dedicated to providing in-depth information for people looking to receive a revision rhinoplasty procedure. We provide an extensive database of highly skilled, board certified plastic surgeons in major cities, including plastic surgery La Jolla specialists, who have qualifications that make them uniquely qualified for revision rhinoplasty procedures. In addition to revision rhinoplasty, many of these surgeons also perform breast augmentation revision procedures for patients in large markets, including breast augmentation San Diego, Los Angeles, New York and Miami patients.

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(Updated on 10/19/10)
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