Qualifications of Surgeons

1. Which surgical specialists can perform liposuction?

Liposuction is performed by cosmetic surgeons who have acquired special training in liposuction. Most cosmetic surgeons have had residency training in surgical specialties, for example, plastic surgery, general surgery, facial plastic surgery, ear, nose, and throat surgery, ophthalmology, gynecological surgery, or dermatology. Training in surgical specialties gives surgeons knowledge of basic surgical methods that reduce the risks of infection and surgical complications. Some surgeons have achieved additional board certification in liposuction.

2. What qualifications should a liposuction surgeon have?

Liposuction surgeons should have received in depth training in safe surgical practices that minimize the risk of infection, training in advanced cardiac life support in order to treat and diagnose cardiovascular complications that arise during liposuction, training of the pharmacology related to the local anesthesia used during tumescent liposuction, and finally, extensive classroom instruction and hands-on training in the operating room. A person interested in getting liposuction should ask potential surgeons how many surgeries they have performed.

3. Do some cosmetic surgeons specialize in liposuction?

Yes. Some cosmetic surgeons do specialize in liposuction as their area of expertise. There are many types of cosmetic surgery and not all surgeons are specialized in liposuction. Extensive training and experience in another type of cosmetic surgery is no substitute for hands-on experience performing many liposuction surgeries. A prospective patient should be aware of doctors’ specialties and seek a surgeon who specializes in liposuction.

4. Have all liposuction surgeons had the same standardized training in liposuction?

No. Any licensed doctor may legally perform liposuction. Because of this, some physicians may call themselves liposuction surgeons but they do not have specialized training or qualifications in liposuction. Basic surgical training or training in other specialties does not necessarily prepare a surgeon to do liposuction.  Because of this inconsistency in training, there is some controversy about the safety of doing a large volume of liposuction, doing total body liposuction, or performing unrelated surgical procedures together with liposuction. Generally, surgeons who perform liposuction using local anesthesia feel it is safer to perform large volume liposuction over multiple, smaller procedures separated by 3 to 4 weeks. It is not recommended that a patient get multiple unrelated surgeries at once or total body liposuction at once.

Get more information about choosing a liposuction surgeon.