You have several choices to make once you’ve decided to get a breast augmentation. How do I choose the right size implant? Are silicone gel or saline implants better? What about the implant placement—behind or in front of the chest muscle?

As critical as these choices are in getting your desired results, the most important decision you’ll make is choosing a plastic surgeon. But do you know what to look for in a breast augmentation plastic surgeon? The criteria include some objective factors, such as board certification, along with issues that are more of a gut feeling. In this blog post, we’ll suggest steps to take as you begin searching for a plastic surgeon.

1. Look for a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon

Your search for a surgeon should first focus on board-certified plastic surgeons. That’s because any physician with a valid medical license can call themselves a cosmetic surgeon and perform breast augmentation or other plastic surgery procedures. Some may even claim to be board certified because many different organizations offer certification.

Only the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), however, is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties, and surgeons certified by the ABPS are the plastic surgeons you want for your procedure. There’s a good reason for this. ABPS-certified plastic surgeons must meet rigorous standards that include graduating from an accredited medical school and completing 6 years of training as a resident surgeon that covers all areas of surgery. Three years of their training must be devoted exclusively to plastic surgery. In addition, board-certified plastic surgeons must pass written and oral exams.

Plastic surgeons also must meet specific requirements to be re-certified every 10 years by the ABPS. For patients, knowing their surgeons are board-certified provides peace of mind as they prepare to undergo breast augmentation surgery.

Dr. Michael Carlisle is certified by the ABPS and completed 8 years of training, including plastic surgery training at the Cleveland Clinic, which is regarded as one of the world’s leading plastic surgery residency programs. He’s also certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

2. Check Out Reviews

Reading what actual patients say about their experiences provides unique insight about a plastic surgeon. Many plastic surgeons’ websites have testimonials from previous patients, which can be valuable, but you should look for reviews from independent websites such as RealSelf, Healthgrades, and Each of these sites gives patients the option to rate surgeons and write reviews.

Word-of-mouth recommendations can also be valuable if you trust the source. If friends or family members have breast implants, ask them who performed their surgery and what they felt about the results and the surgeon’s approach. You can also ask your primary care doctor; the world of medical professionals can be fairly small, and a doctor may recommend a specific surgeon.

3. Check Before and After Photos

A gallery of breast augmentation before and after photos shows the results a plastic surgeon wants to showcase. In addition to those on the surgeon’s website, it’s appropriate to ask to see more during your consultation. While browsing a prospective surgeon’s photo gallery, look for patients who have a similar body shape to yours and the kind of results you’re looking for.


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Before & After Breast Augmentation Case 269 Front View in West Des Moines & Ames, IA
Before & After Breast Augmentation
Before & After Breast Augmentation Case 216 Front View in West Des Moines & Ames, IA
Before & After Breast Augmentation
Before & After Breast Augmentation Case 294 Front View in West Des Moines & Ames, IA
Before & After Breast Augmentation

4. Ask About Experience

In addition to asking about a surgeon’s overall experience, ask how many times they perform breast augmentation in a week or month. It’s often better to choose a younger plastic surgeon who performs breast augmentation regularly than a surgeon with decades of general plastic surgery experience who rarely performs the procedure.

5. Prepare for Your Consultation

Once you’ve settled on 2 or 3 surgeons and are ready to begin scheduling consultations, prepare a list of questions to ask about the surgery itself and your expected recovery timeline. Patients often feel a bit overwhelmed at their consultations, and a written list will help you remember what you want to ask. By the end of the consultation, you should know what to expect before, during, and after the procedure. If you feel like the answers to your questions are vague or curt, that’s a pretty good sign that you should move on to your next option.

6. Trust Your Instincts

The key to getting breast augmentation results you love is trusting that your plastic surgeon understands what you want and has the surgical skills to accomplish those goals. It’s important that you feel comfortable sharing why you want to get breast implants and that you establish a rapport with your surgeon so you are open to their surgical recommendations on issues such as the size of your implants.

Looking for a Breast Augmentation Surgeon?

If you’ve decided to get breast enhancement surgery and are in the process of choosing a surgeon, you can request a consultation with Dr. Carlisle using the online form or by calling our office at (515) 277-5555.

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