Steven Teitelbaum MD

Santa Monica, CA, US
Steven Teitelbaum MD

About the Practice

Practice Philosophy

Because aesthetic surgery is voluntary, and arguably even frivolous, I believe a unique burden is placed upon the doctor - and the patient - to be safe, prudent, and conservative. Though no plastic surgeon would openly disagree with that statement, I adhere to it stronger than most. It guides my philosophy from my lengthy initial consultations, to successive pre-operative contacts with the patient, to the techniques I use, and finally my post-operative and on-going care. I am distraught by what I see as an increasingly cavalier attitude toward cosmetic surgery by patients and physicians alike, with some doctors' offices having only a little more serious of an atmosphere than a beauty salon.

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Read Dr. Teitelbaum's article Two Bad Weeks for My Patients featured on The Huffington Post

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Practice Specialization

Dr. Teitelbaum is a specialist in aesthetic plastic surgery, including facial rejuvenation, breast and body sculpting, and much more. He occupies a niche for patients desiring natural results and demanding the highest level of attention to detail and service.
24-Hour Recovery

Does the idea of a virtually pain-free breast augmentation seem too good to be true?

As remarkable as it sounds, recent developments have allowed over 90 percent of our breast augmentation patients to return to normal activities within 24 hours, without the need for narcotics, bed rest, or special bandages or bras. Bruising is minimal or nonexistent, and pain is controlled with ordinary Advil. In fact, Dr. Teitelbaum’s patients routinely go out to dinner the night of surgery, usually drive within several days, and need to take just a few days off of work. They can help with their children and go for a walk the day of surgery.

This is no exaggeration—and it’s also no accident. Your easy recovery will be the result of Dr. Teitelbaum’s commitment to meticulous preoperative planning, state-of-the-art anesthesia procedures, and the surgeon’s detailed understanding of finer points of anatomy, which allows each operation to proceed smoothly and with a minimum of trauma. His modern surgery suite also offers the latest advances in anesthesia protocols, which significantly minimizes postoperative nausea.

Because of rough or imprecise technique, some surgeons tightly bandage patients or make them wear a special bra in the hopes of forcing the implant into a particular position or to act as a tourniquet to prevent bleeding. Dr. Teitelbaum’s precise and gentle surgical technique, conversely, allows his patients to move their arms in the recovery room right after surgery—and the result is less pain, a shorter recovery, and a lower chance of hardening of the breasts.

There’s a reason why Dr. Teitelbaum has been asked to teach other doctors how to achieve this kind of pain-free recovery at the largest annual plastic surgery meeting in the world. He’s made a believer out of many patients and surgeons; ask as many questions as you like about how he can do the same for you.

Additional Information

Patients sometimes will ask me what they "need." My attitude about aesthetic surgery is that people do not need it in the same way that a bone may need to be fixed or a suspicious growth removed. In other words, it is not possible to simply look at a photograph of a patient and determine without talking to them what operation is right for them. Frequently, there is an array of surgical options available to a patient, involving different costs, risks, recoveries, scars, and results. I make it a goal to explore these issues as thoroughly as possible with a patient at their consultation, so that they can make a truly informed choice about what they want done. Whether they have the surgery done by me, someone else, or not at all, they leave their visit with a dramatically enhanced understanding of their situation.

Far too often I hear a patient from another surgeon complain that they did not get the result they wanted or were expecting. Sometimes they wanted to be less pulled, or not to have had such a big implant. While there are aspects of surgery that are unpredictable, I make sure that a patient knows what to expect as much as possible. If I do not agree with what a patient wants to do - either because I think it is unsafe, or aesthetically undesirable, I discuss it. But a patient of mine will know ahead of time what to expect.

That being said, there are certain subtle intangibles that result from a surgeon's own personal aesthetic sense. I am up front about mine, and I think it is important for patients selecting an aesthetic surgeon be sensitive to these details. I believe in classic, natural, soft beauty. I think that visual clues to aesthetic surgery are often worse than the deformity that was corrected. For instance, I would err on pulling a face less rather than more, in order to avoid an unnatural swept or pulled look. I believe that huge breast implants look and feel unnatural, and cause long-term problems. Outer thigh liposuction is desirable to achieve a smoother, more svelte contour, but I believe that often plastic surgeons remove too much fat, leaving an androgenized, even masculine appearance. Much of what is important to you about how I see things is something you have to observe, and feel for yourself; it is not something I, or another plastic surgeon can fully explain. Certainly, my aesthetic sensibilities will not be shared by all prospective patients; what you must do is be alert to the signs of a surgeon who shares yours.

Safety and predictability is of paramount importance. New techniques come and go, and I do not rush to adopt them unless a clear advantage is shown. Meticulously executed proven techniques serve most patients better in most situations than the "technique du jour" But when a patient needs an unusual procedure that I am not adept at, I do not hesitate to help them find the right doctor. This is not to say that I do not perform the latest techniques, because I certainly do. What it means is that I have a tendency to be more circumspect, rather than aggressive about offering new techniques. I also think it is important to stay in close contact with a patient after surgery. While our office is very busy, I make sure to frequently see all my patients after surgery. Very careful postoperative care is very important in achieving the best possible result.

Sometimes a patient will come in for a consultation and express that they feel nervous. I always tell them that they needn't feel nervous- that this is voluntary surgery. That they should keep seeing doctors until finally everything clicks- that they like the doctor, they like the office, they like the staff - and that they start to get enthusiastic about surgery. It is natural for an intelligent person to always have some apprehension, but eventually the nervousness will be gradually replaced by enthusiasm, and when - and only when that happens - should they proceed with surgery. I am anxious to help you in your process to decide if and what aesthetic surgery is right for you!


Dr. Teitelbaum,
I'm about 12 weeks post breast augmentation and I am so pleased with EVERYTHING! Not just the beautiful results but also the process, surgery time, and most of all -recovery time!,
, The night after surgery, I went out to dinner with my husband and son. I drove myself to your office for my next day follow-up, ok that was not advised but I was feeling great! On week 2 my son, a 40lb 2.5 year-old, could sit on my lap and lean back as he normally would while I read to him.,
, I was certain that you would have me looking exactly the way I envisioned but I honestly did not believe the recovery would be this fast. You did an amazing job. You "nailed" the size I wanted and I've never felt better. ,
, I will see you for a follow up soon and I hope you enjoy your week! Thank you for everything!,
, ~~ joy w.

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Background & Certification

Board Certification

Dr. Teitelbaum is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, the only board recognized to credential plastic surgeons.

Professional Background

Dr. Teitelbaum's caring attitude and unparalleled academic training have prepared him to offer you the finest in aesthetic surgery.

After attending high school at the prestigious Harvard School, he studied anatomy and physiology at U. C. Berkeley, where he was valedictorian and graduated with high honors. He went to medical school at the UCLA School of Medicine, where he continued the basic science research projects that he had started while at Berkeley.

He then studied general surgery at Harvard Medical School's Beth Israel Hospital, where he served as Chief Resident. While credentialing in plastic surgery requires only a mere three prerequisite years of this training, Dr. Teitelbaum completed an entire training program in general surgery, and has been recognized for this by also being certified by the American Board of Surgery.

Training was completed with a plastic surgery residency at the University of Southern California.

Publications and Presentations

Dr. Teitelbaum is frequently asked to appear and comment in the media on plastic surgery. He has recently been quoted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Times of London, Allure, Vogue, and many others. Television appearances have included the CBS Evening News, Inside Edition, multiple local news channels, and many more.

He is also actively involved in medical research, and has recently participated in a very limited clinical trial of a new type of breast implant.

Affiliations & Memberships

Hospital Affiliations

St. John's Hospital - The region's newest hospital is adjacent to the office.

Society Memberships

Dr. Teitelbaum is a member of many professional societies, including the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the International Society of Ultrasonic Surgeons, the California Society of Plastic Surgeons, and many others.

He also is actively involved in these societies, serving as current co-chair of the Legislative Affiairs Committee of the California Society, as well as a member of the Ethics Committee. He also serves on the legislative committees of ASPS and ASAPS.

Offices Held

Steven Teitelbaum is an Associate Clinical Professor of Plastic Surgery at the UCLA School of Medicine, President of the California Society of Plastic Surgeons, and has been in private practice in Santa Monica since 1995. He specializes exclusively in aesthetic plastic surgery.

Your Consultation

My consultations are particularly lengthy, and that is why I charge for them. Many plastic surgeons that offer complimentary consultations actually have them done by a "cosmetic consultant" or "patient coordinator," or they may spend only a few moments with the patients. I schedule a large block of time for each patient, and take as much time as a patient needs to discuss their situation. Photos are taken and we discuss them. Many patients return to continue the consultation on a second or third visit, and I do not charge for those subsequent visits.

I take a thorough history and perform a detailed relevant physical examination. My consultations in particular have a reputation of their own; I have a unique ability to gain an understanding of what a patient wants, to assess their anatomy, to imagine what would look best for a patient given their goals, and finally to discuss this all with them in an understandable way.

Staff & Facilities

Surgical Facility

The operating room has only the most up to date equipment. It has received the certification of AAAHC/Medicare. For decades, accreditation has been the highest form of public recognition a health care organization could receive for safety and quality of care it provides. Patients have come to expect accreditation with hospitals. Yet, it is just as important to seek accreditation from any independent provider where you are planning to have surgery. The Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care handles accreditation of independent ambulatory health care providers and is Medicare approved.

Computer Imaging

3D Simulation of Your Result
Every woman considering breast augmentation shares the same concern: How do I choose an implant that’s the right size for me? Will the implant Dr. Teitelbaum suggests create the look I desire?

While Dr. Teitelbaum has a patent for a device that determines the best implant size to meet a patient’s request, it’s understandable that you will want to get some sense of how different options will look on you. It’s for this reason that Dr. Teitelbaum uses a state of the art digital breast imaging system: the Vectra 3D XT System.

Dr. Teitelbaum has been a long time leader in 3D breast simulation, acting as a consultant on a series of devices, including Axis 3 and Precision light, now culminating in Vectra. He has the largest experience in the world using 3D imaging with shaped breast implants.

After taking multiple simultaneous digital images of the breasts, the software creates a detailed 3D image of your breasts. It makes careful measurements between key landmarks and quantifies differences in the shape and size of your two breasts. This will help draw Dr. Teitelbaum’s attention to problem areas he needs to take into consideration.

Most exciting is that the sophisticated computer algorithms can simulate the result that any of the hundreds of available implant shapes and sizes would create in you. You can compare size, profile, and shape. What will a teardrop highly cohesive implant look like? What about the softest round gel? It can do this and everything in between.

Of course it can also simulate various sizes. How would one size bigger or smaller look?

It is important to know that this is a tool. No computer is yet capable of considering all the variables. But you will get some sense of the shape a particular implant will create, and the proportion of that size relative to your body.

Imaging should not be used as a method to pick a size. Measurements and patient request determine the size, and Vectra is used for you to visualize that result and perhaps decide between small differences in shape and size.

When breasts are only a little droopy, the newest software is able to simulate a lift, though it does not work if your breasts are so droopy that a camera cannot see all the way underneath them to capture the image.

Of course, like any simulation, Vectra is not perfect, but it gives an excellent approximation. Sometimes that approximation is spot on, and other times it is not. But Dr. Teitelbaum has found it to be far and away the most helpful forecasting tool available—and his patients agree. Many say that the digital imaging played a big role in giving them confidence that their implant choice will give them the result they desire.

Contributed Blogs

  • Aesthetic surgeons save lives 

    In the past year, I've diagnosed six patients with breast cancer. That might not sound like a lot for a doctor, but I am a plastic surgeon. This isn't supposed to happen. My patients see me voluntarily and our interactions are full of happiness and optimism. It is wrenching to tell just one patient they have cancer, so this cluster has overwhelmed me. 

Steven Teitelbaum MD

1301 20th St, #350,
Santa Monica, CA,

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