Liposuction Surgeon: Buyer Beware?

There are many types of doctors and surgeons that advertise and perform liposuction. In fact, there are many short term continuing education courses offered through independent firms that will certify most every doctor interested in performing liposuction. Physicians can be trained to perform liposuction in as little as one day’s time.

In fact, the laws regarding the display of credentials in advertising for a liposuction surgeon vary among the states. So, the display of a liposuction surgeon in an ad can be misleading. In addition, it is important to note that the FDA does not regulate physicians. The FDA regulates medical devices such as those used in liposuction. Thus, the FDA approval for liposuction as a safe and effective method for the permanent removal of fat cells does not signify that all doctors can safely and effectively remove fat cells.

It is important for people to be particular about the surgeon they choose for their liposuction procedure. The following guidelines offer a means for consumers to differentiate between liposuction surgeons, including:

Ongoing Education: Most leading surgeons continue with ongoing education after receiving their medical degree. They most often achieve this through residency programs that provide up to five years or more years of training in a specific area of expertise. For example, plastic surgeons often pursue a post doctoral residency in plastic surgery. Plastic surgeons make a good choice for liposuction because of their advanced training in aesthetics and body sculpting.

Medical Organization Membership: A surgeon’s membership with reputable medical organizations also signifies quality surgery. Medical organizations set criteria in order to become eligible for membership in the organization. Some organizations have more stringent requirements than others. For example, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery are recognized by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. The American Board of Plastic Surgery is the highest governing board in plastic surgery.

Board Certification: The type of board certification that a surgeon has contributes to the qualifications of the surgeon. For example, the American Board of Plastic Surgery is the only board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties of over 150 self designated boards.

Experience: The surgeon’s experience in the area of liposuction, body contouring and the volume of liposuction achieved is critical in the decision for a particular surgeon. For example, some surgeons receive additional training to meet the needs of massive weight loss patients interested in large volume liposuction. In addition, liposuction surgeons usually know the number of procedures they have performed over the course of their career and can share that information with interested parties. They can provide before and after photos to help identify the quality of their work as well.

Hospital Privileges: Some surgeons have earned hospital privileges to perform liposuction in an accredited hospital. In order to obtain hospital privileges to perform liposuction in a hospital, the surgeon must meet specific criteria such as peer review of the surgeon’s technique and skill in live liposuction surgery.


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