Choosing a Plastic Surgeon

When searching for Cosmetic Surgery, you should consider the following:

Is your Plastic Surgeon Board Certified?
Has your Surgeon met the standards of one of the boards recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and the American Medical Association (AMA); completed four years of medical school and several years of a supervised residency and/or a fellowship in their specialty, and been tested both in a written, verbal and business type fashion?  These are the minimum requirements for a Plastic Surgeon to become Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, Inc. (ABPS).  It is the only surgical board recognized by the ABMS to certify plastic surgeons.  Completion can take decades from high school graduation. Or, has your surgeon not returned for further residency or fellowship training at a recognized surgical training program and just claims to be a plastic surgeon?

To verify certification call (800) 776-2378 or email

Dr. Culbertson is a diplomat of the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). He completed eight years of residency training in General and Plastic Surgery.

In what Specialty is your Surgeon?

The current position from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) relays that any provider can make the claim that they are a plastic surgeon.  They have allegedly determined it is the public that is required to ultimately make the final decision of who is most qualified.  So, a large number of physicians from Family Practitioners to Gynecologists have expanded their scope of practice into the vast fields of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.  Your provider may not even be a surgeon.  Be sure to ask “What Specialty is your Surgeon?” Only the American Board of Plastic Surgery, Inc (ABPS) can certify Plastic Surgeons.  Call (215) 587-9322 to verify. Dr. Culbertson became certified in 1994 by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS).

Ask to See the Before & After Photos
These will show the doctor’s quality of results and aesthetic sense. Make sure to ask your surgeon if the before and after photos you are viewing are actually their patients. Some practitioners purchase national advertising campaigns with medical devices, proprietary procedures, lasers, etc. where they are provided with a patient pool of before and after photographs.  Dr. Culbertson has well documented Pre and Post Operative photos of our patients for your review here on our website and at our facility.  Click to see our “Before & After Gallery“.
Does your Plastic Surgeon have Hospital Privileges to Perform the Procedure you are Considering?

Rigorous screening process by specialty committees and departments ensure qualifications of surgeons who are allowed to have surgical privileges at a hospital.  These privileges should exist even if they have his/her own facility.  If you have a complication after surgery that requires hospitalization who will be taking care of you and where are you to go? Dr. Culbertson has hospital privileges in South Carolina at several Hospitals.  He is the Medical Director of The Iris Surgery Center.

Is the plastic Surgeon's On-Site Facility/Operating Suite Accredited?

Our Surgical Facility is accredited by the Association of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities, Inc. (AAAASF). Their mission is to continuously improve the safety and quality of care provided to the public through the provision of health care accreditation and related services that support performance improvement in health care organizations. Physicians, clinicians, legislators, state/federal health agencies and patients acknowledge that AAAASF sets the “Gold Standard in Accreditation.”

Does your Surgeon Utilize Critical Pathways to Improve Patient Safety?
Surgeons that perform many of the same procedures develop Critical Pathways of Care that can dramatically assist in improving patient surgical outcomes.  The reduction of Untoward Events and Unfavorable Outcomes has been and continues to be a major health care concern. One of our primary goals is to improve plastic surgery outcomes. Dr. Culbertson utilizes Critical Pathways of Care, has been a member of the ASPS Health Policy, Patient Safety, Quality & Performance Measurement Committees and was instrumental in establishing the ASPS Pathways to Prevent Adverse Events in Ambulatory Surgery.
Is your Surgeon Required to Abide by Specific Ethical Standards of Practice, Advertising, and Management of their Business?

Members of the America Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS) and American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) are required to practice surgery under very specific parameters.  These guidelines protect patients from false or deceptive advertising, misrepresentation and/or misinterpretations of qualifications/experience/results and possible unethical business practices like conflicts of interest, solicitation, fee splitting and false advertising.  Dr. Culbertson is a Member of both the ASPS & ASAPS.  He has been Chairman & a member of the ASPS Ethics Committee. Click here to see the “ASPS Code of Ethics” in a PDF document.

Is your Surgeon's State and National Organizations/Societies Involved in Proactive Patient Advocacy?

Politics & the regulation of healthcare delivery has become a part of everyday life. The American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS) has been actively involved in politics as a patient advocate at the State and National level for many decades. They were responsible for the first national legislation requiring insurance carriers not to exclude/limit care of breast cancer patients, regulation of outpatient surgery for patient safety at the state level, and assisted in the coverage of the correction of congenital anomalies in children. Dr. Culbertson is a politically active patient advocate at the State/National Level and has been a member of the ASPS Council of State Affairs & Government Affairs Committees.

Does your Plastic Surgeon Offer Supplemental Cosmetic Insurance?

Complications from Aesthetic or Cosmetic Surgery fortunately are uncommon. Most insurance carriers will not cover complications from elective cosmetic procedures as covered services. It is important to consider supplemental insurance policy for possible adverse events and unfavorable outcomes that can occur with any surgery. These types of occurrences can be more common with such procedures as abdominoplasty and combined plastic surgery procedures. Unexpected medical/surgical expenses can be quite extensive, expensive & unpleasant. Just to try and make sure our patients do not have these unplanned and unexpected medical/ surgical expenses we provide a supplemental Aesthetic or Cosmetic Surgery insurance policy through a national insurance carrier for our patients that covers the major complications of cosmetic surgery.

American Board of Plastic Surgery
American Board of Plastic Surgery