My daughter the Doctor

Gasp!  Is it true that any doctor can perform breast augmentation surgery?  Even a cardiologist or a pediatrician?  Well, technically, yes.

Breast enhancement is more popular than ever, and some people pursuing breast augmentation in San Francisco have asked me if other doctors besides plastic surgeons can do it.  Patients sometimes come to see me after having a consultation with another doctor, and they have noticed that non board-certified plastic surgeons seem to offer breast augmentation, as well.  So what gives?

Diclaimer: I am biased because I’m a board certified plastic surgeon.  But this article will explain why doctors in general, and not just plastic surgeons, can offer breast augmentation.

In a Doctor’s Office, Anything Goes

Legally, doctors can do any procedure they want in their offices.  If they have a surgery center attached to the office, then they can do anything at that surgery center.

This may seem strange, but in theory, even though I am a plastic surgeon, I could do heart surgery, brain surgery or any number of procedures in my office.  Other doctors are no different, and this is why many non plastic surgeons offer breast augmentation.  The law trusts doctors to use their own moral codes and professional training when deciding what procedures to offer.

In a Hospital, There Are Rules

When it comes to hospitals, things are very different.  Hospitals have stringent guidelines about what doctors can and can‘t do inside the hospital.  A hospital committee goes over each doctor’s educational background and training and determines which procedures it feels the doctor is qualified to perform.  A final list of these approved procedures is made and is referred to as the doctor’s “privileges.”

For example, I have hospital privileges for breast augmentation at several San Francisco hospitals along with numerous other plastic surgery procedures.  A doctor who is just doing breast augmentation may not have hospital privileges to do that procedure, and may never be able to get them.

Litmus Test – Can Your Doctor Perform Breast Augmentation in a Hospital?

So what’s the easiest way to boil this all down if you are pursuing breast enhancement in San Francisco?  Ask your doctor if 1) he or she can perform the surgery in a hospital setting and 2) does he or she have hospital privileges?  If so, then you are probably working with a very experienced surgeon who is most likely board-certified in plastic surgery.

If your doctor cannot perform a breast augmentation at the hospital, or comes up with an excuse, then there is the possibility that your doctor may not be board-certified in plastic surgery.  This does not guarantee a bad result, but it should give you pause to wonder if he or she has truly committed their entire training and career to breast augmentation, reconstruction, reduction and lifts – or if the doctor simply completed an abbreviated course on breast augmentation.

Ask questions.  Get answers.  You’ll set yourself up for the best experience and results.


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