Find a Doctor
Tragedy Highlights the Importance of Choosing a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon

Tragedy Highlights the Importance of Choosing a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon


GRAMMY Award winning rapper Kanye West's mother died Saturday night, just one day after she underwent two plastic surgery procedures in combination. She was 58 years old.

According to celebrity website, Donda West underwent tummy tuck and breast reduction procedures with Beverly Hills cosmetic surgeon Jan Adams on Friday, November 9.

Dr. Adams told TMZ that he did nothing wrong and other medical problems could have led to West's death, including a heart attack or pulmonary embolism.

The Preliminary Report

West was taken to the hospital by paramedics Saturday night after she stopped breathing at her home. Attempts to resuscitate her were unsuccessful, and she died at Centinela Freeman Regional Medical Center in Marina del Rey.

Los Angeles county coroner spokesperson Lt. Fred Corral said that it at first appeared as though West died as a result of complications from surgery. According to Corral, a full autopsy is scheduled to be conducted by Wednesday.

Was Donda West a Good Candidate for Plastic Surgery?

Since news of the death, Dr. Andre Aboolian, a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, has spoken out to the media, saying he and West had previously discussed her undergoing plastic surgery.

According to his publicist, Aboolian told West that he was concerned about a pre-existing condition she had that could lead to complications, such as a heart attack, during surgery.

In response, Dr. Adams told TMZ that Dr. Aboolian was "manipulating the truth to elevate his own importance."

Donda West's Surgeon's Credentials

Dr. Jan Adams is a high-profile Los Angeles-area plastic surgeon who has appeared on CNN and MSNBC, as well as such television shows as Extra and Oprah, as an on-air expert.

He is also a lecturer and author and has focused much of his research on skin care. He has authored a book on the subject and has a line of skin care products that is sold in Walgreen stores.

According to his website, Dr. Adams earned his medical degree at the Ohio State University School of Medicine and completed residency and surgical training.

At first glance, it certainly appears as though Dr. Adams is a reputable cosmetic surgeon. However, a medical degree and television appearances don't guarantee that a surgeon has the experience or skill to perform the procedure – or, as in West's case, the procedures – that you desire.

What You Should Know before You Select a Cosmetic Surgeon

In addition to seeking out information about a surgeon's educational experience and training, you should check to see whether he or she is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). This is an important indicator that the surgeon has the appropriate training to perform all types of plastic surgery procedures. According to the ABPS website, Dr. Adams is not board certified to perform plastic surgery.

You can also confirm with the medical board in your state that your prospective physician has a current medical license. According to the Medical Board of California's website, Dr. Adams’ license is current.

Previous medical malpractice suits against a physician are another sign that he or she may be an unsuitable choice to perform your surgery. There are a number of websites that allow consumers to find out whether a doctor has been the subject of any previous or pending medical malpractice lawsuits. According to medical records, two medical malpractice lawsuits have been filed against Dr. Adams, which led to his having to pay the plaintiffs in the cases $250,000 and $217,337 in 2001.

Dr. Adams was also found guilty of driving with a blood alcohol limit that was over .08 percent in 2003 and pleaded no contest to driving under the influence in 2006.

Want More Information?

Contact a Doctor Near You.