Did you know that any person with the title M.D. after his or her name can legally perform plastic surgery procedures? It’s a scary fact. While there are some circumstances that prevent underqualified “surgeons” from performing surgery, it still happens on a regular basis. Just perform a Google search on “botched surgery” and you’ll find plenty of recent news about plastic surgery gone terribly wrong.

The truth is, there are many excellent, well-qualified surgeons available. One must simply take the time to do a little research. We have created a fool-proof guide for choosing a surgeon who truly is the best of the best.

Step 1: Choose a surgeon…

…that performs your procedure.

First, you must choose a surgeon that performs the procedure you are considering. Many surgeons perform face, breast, body, and skin treatments, while others specialize in one particular area. Dr. Santos has dedicated his education and career to all aspects of the face. He has received special training to perform facelifts, brow lifts, eyelid lifts, nose jobs,  blepharoplastyand other procedures specific to the face.

…that is geographically close to you.

You likely want to choose a surgeon that is geographically close to you so that you don’t have to travel during your recovery. Remember that pricing will vary significantly depending on where you undergo surgery. Typically, a procedure performed in a more populous area will cost more than one done in a rural area.

Step 2: Evaluate their claims for accuracy.

Just because a surgeon’s website states that he or she is “the best” “top plastic surgeon” who is “well-trained” and “board certified,” it does not mean that he or she really is.

Board Certification

To find out if your surgeon’s claims for board certification are true, you can simply enter his or her name in this database or search on the website of the board certification he or she is claiming.


If your surgeon claims to have “years of experience,” take a look at before and after photos of previous procedures performed. Surgeons who are proud of the work they have done will take the time to share their results.

Other Accolades

Odds are, if your surgeon claims to be well-respected by his or her peers, you should be able to find positive mentions of him or her on other websites that are not directly associated with the surgeon. If your surgeon serves on staff at a college or university or frequently travels to speak at seminars that train other plastic surgeons, your surgeon is likely reputable.

Step 3: Evaluate their credentials for relevance to you.

Once you have verified all your surgeon’s claims, you should make sure these claims are going to benefit you in particular. If you are looking for a body procedure, you should look for a surgeon who is certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), which ensures that the surgeon has had training in all cosmetic surgeries of the body. If you are considering rhinoplasty, which is a very complex procedure, it may be in your best interest to consider a specialist. Surgeons like Dr. Santos who are double-board certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery and the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery have very specialized training in surgeries of the head and neck. Fellowships and associations with “Head and Neck” in their title also indicate extra specialized training in this area.

Step 4: Schedule a consultation.

Once you complete steps one through three, it is time to meet your surgeon in person. During a consultation, you will discuss your goals and expectations, your health history, and the details of the procedure you are considering. By the end of the appointment, you should feel completely confident in your surgeon’s ability and have no questions unanswered.

Dr. David Q. Santos strives to provide the most comfortable atmosphere for his patients at his practice in Bellevue, Washington. With over 10,000 facial surgeries performed, he has gained the experience necessary to provide the most optimal surgical results. If you are considering facial cosmetic surgery, please schedule a consultation with Dr. Santos by calling (425) 455-8160. For your convenience, you may also fill out our online contact form.